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Russia and Iran Are Working on a Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency to Take on the Dominant Dollar, Report Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin on a July 2022 visit to Iran. ATTA KENARE/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin on a July 2022 visit to Iran. ATTA KENARE/Getty Images

Russia and Iran are reportedly working together to launch a cryptocurrency backed by gold, with the idea the "stablecoin" could replace the US dollar for payments in international trade.

The two sanction-hit countries want to issue a "token of the Persian region" for use in cross-border transactions, Russian news agency Vedmosti reported Monday. The plan is to launch it in a special economic enclave in Astrakhan in southern Russia, which already handles Iranian shipments.

Those payments are typically done in government-issued currencies such as the US dollar, Russian ruble and Iranian rial.

But the joint project will only be able to move forward once Russia's market for digital assets is fully regulated, according to a top Moscow lawmaker. In September, the Bank of Russia accepted the need to legalize crypto for international payments to soften the impact of financial sanctions, but has yet to clarify its plans.

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that source their value from an asset like the US dollar or gold, which are less volatile in price than digital assets. That protects investors against wild swings in the wider crypto market.

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