According to Venezuelan multimedia platform teleSUR, Russia and Iran have expressed interest in developing their own digital currencies to help combat U.S.-imposed sanctions, following last week's successful launch of Venezuela's 1st cryptocurrency, the El Petro.
Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, Head of Iran's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, said the test model for a «cloud-based digital currency» is currently under development and will be submitted to the Iranian bank system soon.
The Iranian official announced the move following a meeting with the state-owned Post Bank of Iran, according to NPR. The Central Bank of Iran, however, has denied the rumors. According to Iran Front Page News, the bank emphasized the «highly unreliable and risky» nature of the digital currency market, warning investors they «may lose their financial assets» in a realm rife with «pyramid schemes».
«In a meeting with the Board of Directors of the Bank on post-digital currencies based on the blockchain, I... prescribed, the Bank measures to implement the country's 1st cloud-based digital currency... An experimental model for the country's banking system to the examination and approval will be provided,» Azari Jahromi said in his tweet.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan Financial Minister Simon Zerpa Delgado was in Russia last week, where he spoke with officials about strengthening collaboration and about the Latin American nation's newly launched cryptocurrency.
«In this meeting, we have reviewed the economic and financial cooperation between the 2 countries, with emphasis on the new cryptocurrency of Venezuela: the El Petro. We delivered updated information to Minister Anton Siluanov about our cryptocurrency,» Delgado tweeted.
Russian officials have previously exchanged ideas about issuing some kind of digital equivalent of the ruble to circumvent U.S. sanctions, according to The New York Times.
China and Singapore have also expressed interest in creating their own forms of cryptocurrency, but experts say the nations will wait to judge Venezuela's success with the El Petro before bringing their own versions to market.
Responding to the interest by countries sanctioned by the United States and European Union, Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at social trading firm eToro, called cryptocurrencies an «excellent idea.»
«Vladimir Putin and Maduro have very similar problems,» Greenspan said. «They both have a high dependence on the price of crude oil, which has been rather unstable in the last few years. They both have issues with U.S. sanctions and with the U.S. dollar being the world reserve currency. To think that of all the governments and banks who are toying with the idea, it would be Nicolas Maduro who gets there 1st.»
Maduro said on February 22, 2018, that his government had raised $1 billion in the first 2 days of its El Petro cryptocurrency sale.