Swedes Offer Iranian Stock for Bitcoin

Announcements, Blockchain, FinTech, Investing | March 29, 2017 By:

Swedish company Brave New World Investments is now accepting deposits in bitcoin, which it will convert to Iranian Rial and invest in equities on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE).

The team behind the venture is Mairtin O’Duinnin and Mikael Johansson, both with experience in finance and technology in Europe and the Middle East. Brave New World is the first known company in Sweden to incorporate without a bank account and handled all its initial funding in bitcoin.

Iran formally stopped using the US dollar as its official reserve currency in February of this year. The US still imposes sanctions on economic activity with Iran and zealously prosecutes companies that violate the rules. Brave New World founders point to the lack of sanctions on Iran by the EU and Sweden.

However, any ties to US banks would likely trigger some investigation. This week, US prosecutors charged an executive at a Turkish state-owned bank with violating US sanctions against Iran by allegedly routing “millions of dollars of illegal transactions” through US banks on behalf of the Iranian government and others in that country.

Brave New World claims to have all required regulatory checks in place, including anti-money laundering directives, to ensure the business complies with European law. However, it does no banking in Sweden – local banks fear their US operations would be affected by American sanctions if they allowed Swedish-Iranian business.

“We got to think of the venture as the sanctions against Iran were starting to get dismantled in early 2016,” said Mikael Johansson. “However, due to US financial sanctions still in effect against Iran, none of the Swedish banks wanted to help us – despite there being no relevant sanctions against Iran in Sweden or the European Union stopping us.  We pay our bills, shareholder dividends, Iran deposits – everything – in cryptocurrencies.”

The company is in the process of creating an Iranian bank account to facilitate equity investments.