WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 (The Ferowich Report) – Count Iran among the state actors building payment infrastructure for the eventual use of bitcoin.

Soft power: A senior Iranian government official sees more robust digital asset infrastructure as “part of the soft power of each country and said [the] entrance of the currency [bitcoin] will end up in the general interest of the country,” Iran Front Page reports.

The Iranian Ministry of Communication and IT “has already conducted a number of research studies as part of efforts to prepare the infrastructure to use bitcoin inside the country,” Amir Davaee, a senior government official, told the Shargh newspaper in late October.

The ministry is working “with related organizations to put together the infrastructure as early as possible,” Davaee said. 

Why it matters: State actors are flocking to cryptocurrencies as a means to stay competitive, as with the case of Moscow’s ‘cryptoruble,’ which will be backed one-to-one by Russian fiat. The adoption of cryptocurrencies presents a fundamentally different method for state and non-state actors to do business. Ultimately, cryptocurrency is likely end up as an instrument for state actors to exert soft power.

Context: “One reason for Iran’s eagerness to escape a dollar-denominated world is that as part of the original sanctions against the country four years ago, [the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication] removed Iran from its network, cutting off the country’s banking system from global networks and making dollar-denominated transactions impossible, in the process crippling Iran’s oil exports,” Zero Hedge reports.