Technology always wins the race against less agile governments. Such is the case in Iran, where peer-to-peer crypto e-currency Bitcoin is enabling locals to conduct world commerce unlike ever before.
Inflation is raging in this west Asian country of 75 million. As the United States and its allies work to devalue the country’s rial currency and put pressure on the government, hyperinflation has set in at rates of 27 percent and even higher. Dollars are hard to come by. In one week last year, the Iranian rial plummeted 20,000 against the US dollar to 36,500 per dollar, before bouncing back.
But Iranians have found a way around the target on their currency. Iranians can conduct transactions in Bitcoins and transfer funds coming to them into dollars, avoiding the currency collapse at home. Those dollars can then be kept outside the country, as Bitcoin uses decentralized peer-to-peer networks to store value.
Governments can try their best to keep closed an increasingly open world, but services like Bitcoin will, more and more, continue to stick in their craw.
Bitcoin also allows foreigners to purchase products from Iran. One recent article cited an Iranian musician selling downloads of his songs. Purchasing something like that would be enough for many western governments to seek justice from you. Iranians abroad can use the currency to send money to their families back home, who can then decode it as needed while being able to hold some monetary stability.
As one expert recently said, “the US government can longer afford to not get the internet”. This is just the latest example of the leakage that comes from governments trying to sanction other governments (or their own citizens) but not keeping pace with technology.