Major peer-to-peer (p2p) bitcoin exchange platform LocalBitcoins has withdrawn support for bitcoin trading in Iran, according to information on the popular p2p platform’s website.
The exchange is used across the globe and links local crypto traders with others in the region for over-the-counter (OTC) transactions.
A message on LocalBitcoin’s Iran country page simply reads:
“Unfortunately, LocalBitcoins is currently not available in your selected region.”
Users who followed it up on Twitter were told that the services were not available in the country due to “risk-based reasons.”
LocalBitcoins has its headquarters in Finland, and the restriction on the use of its site in Iran is reportedly necessitated by the platform’s need to comply with Finnish financial regulations.
In March this year, the Finnish Parliament passed a new law under the Virtual Currency Service Providers Act and amended the country’s Detecting and Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act dubbed the “AML law.”
The laws meant that wallet providers and exchanges would now be closely monitored in an attempt to prevent the use of virtual currencies in money laundering and terrorism financing.
And even though LocalBitcoins has enhanced its Know Your Customer (KYC) and AML checks, it is likely the move to cut off Iranian users has been informed by similar steps at other exchanges. The main concern is the purported sanctions that the U.S. has slapped other exchanges in the recent past.
For example, changes have seen top exchanges Binance and Coinbase not offer support for users in Iran.
LocalBitcoins is a preferred platform for many Iranian bitcoin users as it allowed buying and selling of cryptocurrency via local cash or mobile money and not credit card or other online payment methods like PayPal. It means that enthusiasts who do not have international bank accounts have been able to transact much easily.
The U.S. sanctioned Iran in 2018 and the country allegedly responded by announcing plans for a national cryptocurrency that was meant to help it circumvent the sanctions.