Iran-based sellers on peer-to-peer trading platform LocalBitcoins are currently asking for around 1 billion Iranian rials or over $24,000 per Bitcoin (BTC), based on the official exchange rate from the country’s central bank.
But is this really the actual price Iranians are paying for Bitcoin?
“Official” exchange rate distorts Bitcoin price in Iran
However, the apparent staggering premium in Iran relative to the current global market price may only exist on the surface.
In reality, it is not uncommon for countries with weak national currencies — such as Venezuela — to have dual exchange rates: one “official” rate set by the country’s central bank and the other, the actual market rate, or the real amount of dollars a regular person would get for their rials.
“It’s only possible for few businesses and government with special procedure to get that rate,” explained a crypto expert Ali Beikverdi.
“The official rate is what the central bank says. But literally, no one except some government organizations can get that rate while no one can use it. It’s a joke.”
“So if you wanna buy USD today in Tehran, the price is about 140,000 IRR,” he says.
In other words, while the “official rate” is around 42,000 IRR per 1 USD — which would result in the $24,000 price per Bitcoin — the actual rate in the street would give one something closer to BTC’s actual global market price, currently around $7,300 USD.
Trader Aleksandar Kumanov