US moves accelerate Iran’s state crypto push: US sanctions have hampered Iran’s international import and export payments, its personal banking network and have seen it excluded from the inter-bank SWIFT messaging system. These moves, which have long been in the pipeline, have led to the increasing development of the country’s blockchain ecosystem, with reportedly two state-backed cryptocurrencies now in the works, one from the Central Bank of Iran and the other by the country’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry as well as blockchain technology pacts with Armenia and Russia. Earlier this year, the government stopped its banks from dealing in cryptos in a bid to stop reserves leaving the country as the US sanctions came into force.
Thailand pioneers blockchain VAT payment platform: Thailand’s Revenue Department is using a distributed ledger to track value-added tax (VAT) payments and the platform is, reportedly, the first time blockchain has been used in this way. The technology will be used to help examine VAT claims and invoices and will identify incidents of VAT fraud. The country has also started using blockchain to catch tax dodgers.
Chinese crypto miners forced to short sell Bitcoin: China is home to the most cryptocurrency miners in the world and some of them have reportedly started to short sell Bitcoin to cushion themselves against the falling prices and to “hedge against the unbearable market conditions.” They say they are also buying up second-hand mining equipment that end up being sold as scrap and they are taking such actions, one miner said, in “self-defense” because if they didn’t, they would be “completely eliminated.”
EU countries sign blockchain pact: Malta, France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and Greece have signed a joint declaration on cooperation on blockchain technology. A meeting of EU transport ministers agreed to cooperate on areas including education, transport, mobility, shipping, land and companies registration, customs, and healthcare. Malta, in particular, has been on the global blockchain radar since Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, left Asia to set up its HQ on the small Mediterranean island.