Iran’s central bank has banned the country’s banks from dealing in all cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
According to Reuters, the decision was made over money laundering concerns.
“Banks and credit institutions and currency exchanges should avoid any sale or purchase of these currencies or taking any action to promote them,” said state news agency IRNA.
Iran’s government is on edge right now, waiting for U.S. President Donald Trump to decide whether to restore economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a blow to the 2015 pact between Iran and six major powers. Trump is expected to make the decision by May 12.
As a result, Iran’s currency, the rial, fell to an all-time low. That led the country to unify its official and open market exchange rates and ban money changing outside of banks.
In February, it was also reported that Iran was considering launching its own cryptocurrency. Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, said in a Twitter post that the country’s state-run banks are seeking to develop their own digital coins.
Cryptocurrencies have been a concern for many countries worried about how they can be used for money laundering and fraud. Just last week, two men from South Korea were sentenced for running a bitcoin pyramid scheme that stole around 20 billion Korean won ($20 million) from investors.
In addition, Chinese police arrested the founders of a nationwide cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that had amassed $13 million from over 13,000 people.
According to reports, the schemers said that those who invested 3 million yuan could earn 80,000 yuan per day. The news comes a few months after the country launched an initiative to identify blockchain scammers.
And last month, a U.S. federal court cracked down on four individuals behind a cryptocurrency pyramid scheme. According to a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the accused violated its prohibition against deceptive acts by claiming that three chain referral schemes could generate substantial income for participants.