Telegram is one of the most popular applications in the world when it comes to communications. The app, which offers an incredible level of privacy and encryptions is known for the security of the conversations - and is particularly popular in nations with a hostile government. Iran happens to be one such country where the app has a massive number of users. However, the government of Iran isn’t too pleased with the app. The success of the Telegram ICO added fuel to fire. 

Telegram is being used in Iran as a means of communication by protesters. Massive protests have broken out in the country over the past few months as citizens are revolting against the hardline religious leaders who have governed the country since the 70s. Reports from AI-Monitor claim that the Iranian government is unhappy with the app and has likely been working on coming up with a ban.

The government believes that Telegram, especially after the $1.7 Billion Telegram ICO, is an ‘enemy of the private sector’. Many eminent leaders from Iran, particularly some members of the Iranian cyber cell are saying that the new Telegram cryptocurrency might as well go on to undermine the economy of Iran. Hassan Firouzabadi, secretary of the government’s High Council for Cyberspace, stated:

“Telegram is not a dominant messenger in any country except for Iran,” Firouzabadi said on state television. “Telegram has officially announced that it will be used as an economic platform, and Telegram will undermine the national currency of Iran. We cannot allow [Telegram’s virtual] currency to enter the country” Firouzabadi also believes that the Telegram cryptocurrency can result in a loss of $50 Billion for the economy. 

Firouzabadi also states that Telegram has never officially announced that they will be used as an economic platform and now they are coming up with a cryptocurrency. Moreover, they also refused to open up an office in Iran and have refused to work with the private sector. Here’s the economic challenge that the country may face, as per Firouzabadi:

"We predict that this [virtual] money's lifetime is 10 years, and during this period, approximately $50 billion will be withdrawn from the country. But if the price of [this virtual money] declines overnight, people will protest [and ask] why there wasn't any monitoring of it." What further agitates those protesting the Telegram app and the Telegram ICO is the fact that Iran is the only country where Telegram is the dominant means of communication. 

While a number of voices in the government are being raised against the Telegram ICO and the app, it is yet to have gained any support from the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, who said that “Nobody is opposed to breaking Telegram’s monopoly [in Iran], but blocking Telegram is not the solution for creating [and enhancing] local messaging applications.” Rouhani is a moderate leader in the otherwise radically charged nation of Iran. The fate of the Telegram cryptocurrency in Iran hangs in the balance as the government continues to debate.