Authorities in Iran have closed nearly 7,000 unauthorized cryptocurrency mining facilities in the past two years, local media revealed. According to a report, most of the illegal bitcoin farms were concentrated in five provinces of the Islamic Republic, including Tehran.
Iran Continues Crackdown on Unlicensed Cryptocurrency Mining
Iranian officials have disconnected and disbanded a total of 6,914 crypto farms operating without mining licenses. This has been going on since authorities began cracking down on the illegal mining of cryptocurrencies in 2020, the Anglophone Iranian daily Financial Tribune revealed this week.
The paper cites a report from Iribnews.ir stating that these facilities burned some 645 megawatts of electricity while minting digital currencies without authorization. It is estimated that this is equivalent to the annual consumption of three major regions: North Khorasan, South Khorasan and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari.
Cryptocurrency mining has been a legal industrial activity in Iran for nearly three years now, after the government approved regulations for the sector in July 2019. A licensing regime has been put in place and companies wishing to become involved in the business must obtain approval from the Ministry of Industries.
However, because registered crypto miners are required to buy the electrical energy they need at higher export rates, many Iranian miners have chosen to stay under the radar. They usually illegally connect to the grid and use subsidized electricity to power their mining hardware.
Iran’s Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) is going after underground crypto farms, shutting them down and seizing hundreds of thousands of mining machines. If identified, their operators could be fined for damage to the distribution network and a report revealed last month that the government is preparing to increase the fines.
Last summer’s electricity shortages in the country were partly attributed to increased electricity consumption for minting coins, and even licensed miners were asked to turn off their equipment. They were allowed to resume operations in September, but were then again ordered to suspend operations in the face of a growing power shortage in the cold winter months.
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Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’ quote, “Being a writer is what I am, not what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
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