How Iran Uses Bitcoin Mining to Evade Sanctions and "Export" Millions of Barrels of Oil

May 21, 2021

Author: 

Tom Robinson

Author's Title: 

Co-Founder and Chief Scientist

Publication: 

Elliptic

Elliptic estimates that 4.5% of all Bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, allowing the country to circumvent trade embargoes and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptoassets that can be used to purchase imports and bypass sanctions. This has implications for financial institutions engaging in cryptoasset transactions - who should ensure they have appropriate controls in place to avoid sanctions violations.

The US imposes an almost total economic embargo on Iran, including a ban on all Iranian imports and sanctions on Iranian financial institutions. Oil exports have plummeted 70% over the past decade, leaving the country in a deep recession with soaring unemployment and periods of civil unrest.

In the face of these sanctions, Iran has turned to an unlikely solution - Bitcoin mining.

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Read the rest of the blog post at Elliptic.