✊ Iranian people are still fighting against their regime, and it’s a hard fight that may soon become even harder.
In addition to the already draconian measures deployed against the protesters, the oppressors are considering using economic tools too. Yesterday a member of the Iranian Parliament told that unveiled women who do not wish to comply with the current dress code after two reminders, may have their bank accounts frozen.
That is, of course, a much smaller punishment than that of Mahsa Amini, who paid for her clothing choice with her life.
However, this decision could make Iranian protesters’ life even harder, especially if launched on a big scale. Imagine an interconnected system of street cameras, AI face recognition and citizen registry, which can design “bad” citizens, whose looks or behaviour do not please the current government. Now imagine a banking system receiving “bad” citizens lists and systematically cutting them from their savings…
This does look dystopian, and this is happening already in China, which has foreseen a special monetary system to streamline the last stage – the CBDC .
Iranian government surely understands how useful a CBDC can be to control its people and persecute the most defiant ones. Its CBDC, called “crypto rial”, has been in the works for several years already, and a pilot was launched in the end of September.
Another country with authoritarian tendencies that has launched a CBDC is Nigeria, and it is messing with its people’s finances too. Facing a very low interest in e-Naira, Nigerian Central Bank has set a tight $225 limit on weekly ATM withdrawals.
As the old crypto adage goes, “not your keys, not your money”.
The situations in Iran, China, and Nigeria remind us of it, highlighting that CBDCs only elevate the risk of abuse the average citizens can be subject to.