Iranian students use cryptocurrency to pay for UK studies18.12.2018
Before cryptocurrencies began to be widely used for speculation, they, above all, had to help people exercise control over their own funds. Now, due to the current political situation, the true purpose of cryptocurrency is gaining popularity again. For example, in the UK, Iranian students use cryptocurrencies to bypass the banking system, which they can no longer access due to sanctions.
In early November, the United States successfully put pressure on the international system of interbank transfers SWIFT, cutting off Iran from the global financial system. According to available information, now it forces Iranian citizens studying at foreign universities to apply to cryptocurrency to be able to pay for their studies.
Maziar Bahari, editor of the Iranwire news portal for Iranian citizens outside the country, explained the situation to the British media:
“They use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to get money,” said Mazyar to the Guardian and added that he had heard that “many” students of the University of Cambridge have problems getting banking services in the UK.
It is also reported that some UK educational institutions, such as the University of Reading, advise students to fly home to Iran and return with cash to pay for their education. This may provoke other legal problems, as students will try to cross international borders with a large amount of cash, but the payroll system seems to have no other options for them.
In addition to individual Iranian citizens, such as students studying abroad, the government can also use cryptocurrency to evade economic sanctions. Nevertheless, it seems that for the time being this is happening on a small scale, as FINCEN claims that “since 2013, the use of virtual currency in Iran includes transactions in Bitcoin worth at least $ 3.8 million per year.”
The country may soon follow the same path as Venezuela, which launched its own national cryptocurrency, to try to avoid sanctions on a wider scale. Meanwhile, international cryptocurrency exchanges have already ceased to serve Iranian clients to avoid the risk of violating US sanctions.