Iran set to freeze bank accounts of women who refuse to wear a hijab
Iran is planning to freeze protestors’ bank accounts if they are caught without a hijab in public. CBDC critics suggest the issue would be even worse if government-backed digital assets were the main medium of exchange.

A member of the Iranian parliament has told local media the government plans to impose new punishments on women who do not wear a hijab in public, with individuals who refuse to comply after two warnings possibly having their bank accounts frozen.

Hossein Jalali, a member of the Cultural Commission of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, told Iranian media on Dec. 6 that “unveiled persons” would be sent an SMS urging them to respect the law and wear a hijab before entering a “warning phase” and finally having their bank account potentially frozen.

"In the third stage, the bank account of the unveiled person may be frozen."

Similar actions taken by governments in the past have seen protestors and dissidents turn to cryptocurrencies to continue accessing financial instruments.

Jalali did not detail what the “warning stage” entailed, he suggested there should not be “morality police" enforcing compliance with the law and other key figures have noted cameras may be used in combination with artificial intelligence to identify offenders.

Ongoing protests have occurred in Iran since Sep. 17, when an Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the morality police for not wearing a hijab and died in suspicious circumstances at a hospital in Tehran.

Many women are now setting fire to their hijab or refusing to wear them amidst a broader push to force the government to back down on its compulsory hijab requirements.

The threat to freeze the bank accounts of protestors parallels events in Canada earlier this year, where the country's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 15, enabling regulators to freeze the bank accounts of members partaking in the "Freedom Convoy" protests.

Some convoy protestors turned to crypto as a way to fund the movement after the fundraising platform GoFundMe removed the campaign from its website.

Iran, which has been using crypto in international trade deals since Aug. 9, has been developing its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) called the crypto rial.

The threat from Iranian officials to freeze bank accounts to enforce compliance again highlights the risks of CBDCs and the transition to cashless economies. Nigeria on Dec. 6 banned ATM withdrawals of more than $45 a day in an attempt to force the population to use its unpopular CBDC. Transactions of decentralized cryptocurrencies by contrast are similar to cash in that they can not be censored by government officials.

CBDC critic and host of the popular YouTube channel Wall Street Silver noted in a Dec. 6 tweet that governments having absolute power over your money is a scary idea.

_____

Nigeria bans ATM cash withdrawals over $225 a week to force use of CBDC
With the adoption of Nigeria’s eNaira Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) lagging, the country’s central bank imposed further cash withdrawal restrictions on its citizens and reissued new banknotes as it seeks to encourage digital financial transactions.

Nigeria has drastically reduced the amount of cash individuals and businesses can withdraw as it attempts to push its “cash-less Nigeria” policy and increase the use of the eNaira — Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The Central Bank of Nigeria issued the directive to financial businesses in a Dec. 6 circular, noting that individuals and businesses would now be limited to withdrawing $45 (₦20,000) per day and $225 (₦100,000) per week from ATMs.

Individuals and businesses will also be limited to withdrawing $225 (₦100,000) and $1,125 (₦500,000) respectively at banks per week, with individuals hit with a 5% fee and businesses with a 10% fee for amounts above those limits.

The maximum cash withdrawal via point-of-sale terminals is also capped at $45 (₦20,000) per day. Announcing the changes the Director of Banking Supervision Haruna Mustafa noted:

“Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (Internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions.”

The limits are cumulative limits for each withdrawal, so an individual withdrawing $45 from an ATM who then tries to withdraw cash from a bank on the same day would be hit with the 5% service fee.

The previous limits on daily cash withdrawals prior to the announcement were $338 (₦150,000) for individuals and $1,128 (₦500,000) for businesses.

Adoption rates for eNaira have been low since its launch on Oct. 25, 2021. As reported by Cointelegraph on Oct. 26 the Central Bank of Nigeria has struggled to convince its citizens to use the CBDC with less than 0.5% of the population reported having used the eNaira as of Oct. 25, a year on from its launch.

Nigeria established its “cash-less” policy in 2012, suggesting a shift away from physical cash would make its payment system more efficient, reduce the cost of banking services, and improve the effectiveness of its monetary policy.

On Oct. 26 the Governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Godwin Emefiele, noted 85% of all Naira in circulation was held outside of banks and as a result it would be reissuing new banknotes in an effort to drive the shift towards digital payments.

According to a CBDC tracker from the American think-tank, Atlantic Council, Nigeria is one of 11 countries to have fully deployed a CBDC, 15 other countries have launched pilot programs with India set to join the ranks later this month.

_____

Fan tokens struggle to hold on as World Cup quarter-finals draw nearer
Cryptocurrencies tied to national soccer teams saw their peaks well before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Token, suggesting fan tokens are falling out of favor.

Cryptocurrencies tied to national soccer teams have failed to keep the attention of 2022 FIFA World Cup fans, with many soccer-linked fan token prices plummeting since the tournament began.

Between Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Argentina, the associated digital fan tokens have fallen between 60% to 88% percent in price since the start of the World Cup on Nov. 20, according to CoinGecko.

This is despite Brazil, Argentina and Portugal reaching the quarter-finals, while Spain was a strong contender up until they were knocked out on Dec. 6.

The tokens do generally react to immediate results, with Spain's SNFT token down 39.1% over the past 24 hours following the team's loss against Morocco, however, Portugal's POR token is also down 6.1% over that same time frame, despite them beating Switzerland 6-1 on Dec.6. Such suggests that the tokens are becoming less reactive to the associated teams’ success.

Notably, these cryptocurrencies saw their peaks well before any of the teams even walked on the soccer field in Qatar, suggesting a classic “buy the rumor, sell the news” event took place.

Both the Portugal and Argentina fan tokens hit their all-time highs (ATHs) on Nov. 18, while the ATHs for Spain and Brazil fan tokens came two months prior on Sept. 28.

A similar occurrence can also be seen on the chart for Chiliz (CHZ), the native token behind the major fan token platform Socios, which pumped to its own ATH on Nov. 20 but has since dropped 36%.

The 24-hour trading volumes of tokens have also dropped off drastically since kick-off — falling between 79% to 88% since Nov. 20.

This class of tokens was originally designed to offer fans unique interaction opportunities with teams they support, such as allowing tokenholders to vote on minor decisions like what is to be written on the captain’s armband.

Critics of fan tokens see it differently, however, and view the market as a predatory way for experienced traders to milk enthusiastic fans out of capital.

Speaking to The Athletic in Aug. 2021, Martin Calladine, author of The Ugly Game — a book exploring the dark side of FIFA’s dealings with Qatar and its bid for the 2022 World Cup — offered a grim take on the fan tokens.

“We see the price of tokens being driven up in anticipation of football events like signings or titles,” he said, adding that “traders cash them out, prices crash, and fans are left sitting on losses — victims of their enthusiasm for their clubs.”

_____

This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.

Share this post