Since Iran began recognizing cryptocurrency mining as an industry, it has reportedly shut down 1,620 unauthorized crypto mining companies. Crypto miners initially welcomed the recognition but later said electricity rates were too high.
1,620 Crypto Mining Farms Shut Down in Iran
Iranian authorities have reportedly shut down 1,620 illegal cryptocurrency mining companies since the country began recognizing that cryptocurrency mining is a legal industry in July 2019. The Financial Tribune reported on Monday that these mining companies were using 250 megawatts of electricity. Many of the unauthorized cryptocurrency mining companies identified in December as surpassing bitcoin’s price all-time highs.
Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, a spokesman for the Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir), told the state broadcaster Saturday:
Tavanir is strict with unauthorized miners; those who use subsidized power, such as unlicensed miners, will be fined as much as the loss they cause on the national grid. Their mining sites will be disconnected from the national grid and prosecuted.
In July 2019, the Iranian government said it would recognize crypto mining as a legal industry. The publication noted that miners initially welcomed this move, but later claimed electricity tariffs were too high and took their business underground.
Tavanir is legally authorized to shut down illegal crypto miners, the news center noted, adding that a total of 24 cryptocurrency mining companies using 310MW have been approved by the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade so far.
Iran’s Ministry of Energy explained that miners’ electricity bills are based on the country’s average energy export rates and the country’s Forex Management Integrated System (Nima). “Miners pay 4,800 rials for one kilowatt hour, which is half the rate of electricity export in the fall, winter and spring,” the publication detailed. “However, bills are based on 19,300 rials / kw, twice the price for electricity exported in summer (June to Sept).”
Rajabi Mashhadi said the judiciary reported a leap in lawsuits related to illegal cryptocurrency mining in December and nearly 500 cryptocurrency mining companies were identified with the help of whistleblowers. They are given incentives, including rewards of 100 million rials, to help energy officials identify illegal crypto mining companies.
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