Shoprak announced that in 3 days it will start the process of deactivating internet terminals without a symbol or with an identity that does not match the owner of the symbol, despite the protests of digital economy activists. According to the letter sent by Shoprak to the payment companies on November 19th, the correct information of the internet receivers and the obtaining of the electronic symbol will be followed as a matter of urgency. In this letter, the third article of the third chapter of the instructions for preventing and dealing with the smuggling of goods and currency in cyber space is mentioned.
This article obliges the central bank to provide a virtual payment portal to internet businesses by payment service companies and payment assistants only for the holders of electronic trust symbols, and in case of cancellation or suspension of the electronic trust symbols online prevent the continuation of the service. It should also oblige the virtual payment gateways that were previously provided without having an electronic trust symbol to receive the trust symbol within three months and prevent them from providing service before the deadline.
This requirement was announced in Azar 1400 to get the payment gateway for online businesses, and at the same time, many businesses objected to it. At that time, only the new adopters were required to receive this material, and the decision regarding the old ones was postponed until later. In a statement, the Nasr Organization of Tehran said that making this material mandatory is against the official approach of the country’s trade unions and the parliament: “The transformation of this material from an optional mark to a regulatory body for all cyberspace businesses, by preventing the start of the activities of transformative fields that have not yet been regulated, is an action that It is completely against the official approach of the country’s trade unions and the Islamic Council as the highest legislative body.” The opposition to this requirement reached the point where many online businesses removed the symbol from their websites and payers independently filed a complaint against the Central Bank to the Administrative Court. The complaint was rejected in court.
Another part of Shoprak’s latest letter also reminded that in addition to the need to match the website address of the Internet terminal (the value in the Access Address field at the terminal level) in Shoprak’s comprehensive system with the site address listed in the e-commerce development center database, the identity of the owner of the symbol It must be equal to the identity of the acceptor introduced by that company.
Activists of internet businesses have repeatedly stated that not only the requirement of this article is contrary to Article 44 of the Constitution, but basically, despite the authentication of bank accounts that was carried out in 2013, this article has lost its function and is no longer needed.
Mohammad Mahdi Shariatmadar, the chairman of Fintech Association’s board of directors, who published the image of Shoprak’s letter on his user account, considers this letter to be the closing of several thousand businesses. In his opinion, sending this letter under these conditions means that businesses will be closed in any case. Referring to the pursuits of activists in the field in opposition to this product, he says: “Our first and last concern was that this product is a tool to close businesses, regardless of their condition. “The fact that the government has not regulated and given permission for a business sector is an illegitimate reason to say that they do not have such products, so I will close their doors.”
Before taking this product, businesses must get a license, while according to him, many businesses cannot get a license due to incomplete regulatory conditions, and in this regard, we are even more limited than neighboring countries:
For a period of time, people could freely start their own business, and Article 44 of the Constitution also says that people are allowed to do economic activity in an area that has not yet been legislated, unless there is an explicit legal prohibition. But after this product became mandatory for small and medium-sized businesses, there is only one way left, and now, in a situation where people have many problems, they have taken a step back and say that we are closing businesses that did not have this product before. While they haven’t done any regulation, they can’t give permission, but they close it. In general, it seems that Shaperak, as an institution that is engaged in this work, was either under a lot of pressure or that there is a goal to increase dissatisfaction.
He points to areas such as insurance, cryptocurrency, Land Tech, Bank Tech, and BNPL, which do not have a license and cannot obtain such a license: “Sovereignty has the task of regulation. It should regulate phenomena that exceed a certain limit and allow phenomena that are not risky to operate. The people of Iran pay taxes so that the governing body performs this task. But now, he does not regulate those who are big, nor does he allow those who are small and do not pose a risk to operate. In many areas, no license has been defined at all, and it is not clear who the regulatory body is, or that body has not defined a license that can be obtained and based on which this product is received.
These conditions that are placed at the feet of businesses, in addition to destroying businesses, make the future of this area insecure, and according to Shariatmadar, it means blocking businesses and it is no different from filtering:
The licensing system does not have good conditions, and if they impose a legal requirement and remove anyone who does not have a license and could not obtain this material from financial services, it means that their business has been blocked and it is no different from filtering. Neither the new business can start its activity easily, nor the old business can continue to operate. These conditions make businesses face an unsafe and blocked environment. Every once in a while a letter also comes and it is natural that they no longer invest in Iran nor have stability and peace of mind. This uncertain space is eternal and has no end. First, for new businesses, they said that they would not provide service without this item, and then in the most critical situations, they said that they would close old businesses without this item.
Shaperak’s last letter, by setting a deadline of several days, practically closes the hands of many businesses. In a situation where internet businesses are involved in crisis from various aspects and there are reports of their losses, the threat of deactivation of internet terminals without a symbol or with an identity inconsistent with the owner of the symbol within six weeks will be a double burden on the shoulders of the digital economy.