Iran’s crypto imports could tempt Russia to dodge sanctions with digital cash

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Earlier this year, cryptocurrency took center stage following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As the Russian government saw swift sanctions from around the world, many feared that it would turn to crypto to circumvent these sanctions. While this debate was over only shortly after it began, the new crypto imports into Iran proved that crypto really does have the power to help countries get out of sanctions jams. Russian officials are starting to take notice.

Being a mostly unregulated market, crypto is very attractive to criminals. One aspect in particular is the presence of mixers and privacy coins – tools used to ensure that no one can track their transactions. This has led to actions such as US Treasury sanctions against Tornado Cashfor example, a piece of news that has generated a lot of reactions.

With the invasion of Ukraine, several nations turned against Russia by imposing sanctions on imports and exports to and from the country. But with these sanctions, there were fears that Russia could turn to crypto, with its lack of regulation and ease of anonymity, to avoid sanctions. Many crypto commentators have denied the possibility of evading sanctions on such a scale through digital assets.

Either way, it appeared that Russia was not interested in crypto to begin with. As Russian President Vladimir Putin toyed with capitalizing on the country’s crypto mining capabilities, he signed a bill banning crypto transactions in July.

But could Russia soften its position? Following Iran’s new adoption of the technology, an official in the European nation wants to mirror the country’s crypto imports.

Iran’s Crypto Imports Could Inspire Russia to Follow

In early August, crypto imports into Iran became the latest topic of discussion regarding crypto and sanctions. Since 1979, the United States has imposed increasingly strict sanctions on the nation. Now he is skirting those sanctions with crypto, and a Russian official is expressing his admiration.

Earlier this month, Iran announced its first import order with cryptocurrency. He spent $10 million on these imports. For now, the government has not revealed what currency it uses or the recipient of these transactions. An Iranian official has made known his intention to continue these purchases precisely to circumvent the sanctions.

This week, investors see the Iranian government stepping up its efforts in this regard. The Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade has just authorized any Iranian company to import materials using cryptocurrency. The government has also set up dozens of crypto-mining operations to help finance imports.

The Russian government is taking note of this news, and it may very well rethink its bearish trend on the crypto. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin voices support for cross-border crypto payments.

In a statement at a Russian economic forum, he highlighted the power of digital assets to secure property from other countries without penalty. “We need to intensively develop innovative areas, including the adoption of digital assets,” he said. “It is a safe alternative for all parties who can guarantee uninterrupted payment for the supply of goods from abroad and for export.”

Mishustin’s comments came just hours after news broke from Iran. It is very likely that he was inspired by the decision before he launched Russian economists on crypto imports and exports. As Corner Telegraph notes, several other economic leaders in the country have expressed interest in adopting crypto for similar purposes.

As of the date of publication, Brenden Rearick had no position (directly or indirectly) in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, subject to publishing guidelines.

Brenden Rearick is a financial news writer for InvestorPlace’s current market team. It primarily covers digital assets and tech stocks, with a focus on crypto and DeFi regulation.