Local media revealed that over the past two years, Iranian authorities have shut down nearly 7,000 unauthorized cryptocurrency mining facilities. According to a report, most of the illegal bitcoin farms are concentrated in the five provinces of the Islamic Republic, including Tehran.
Iran Continues Crackdown on Unlicensed Cryptocurrency Mining
Iranian officials have closed and dismantled a total of 6,914 crypto farms without mining licenses. The news was published this week by the English-language Iranian-language daily Financial Tribune since authorities began cracking down on the illegal extraction of cryptocurrencies in 2020.
The newspaper cited a report by Iribnews.ir detailing that the facilities burned around 645 megawatts of electricity while minting digital currency without permission. This is estimated to be equivalent to the annual consumption of three major regions – North Khorasan, South Khorasan and Chahar Mahal-Bakhtiari.
Cryptocurrency mining has been a legal industrial activity in Iran for almost three years after the government approved regulations for the industry in July 2019. A licensing system has been introduced, and companies that want to participate in the business need to be licensed by the Ministry of Industry.
However, many Iranian miners have opted to go unnoticed as registered crypto miners need to buy the electricity they need at a higher export rate. They are often illegally connected to the grid and use subsidized electricity to power their mining hardware.
Iran’s Generation, Distribution and Transmission Corporation (Tavanir) has been tracking down underground crypto farms, shutting them down and confiscating hundreds of thousands of miners. If identified, their operators could be fined for damage to the distribution network, and a report last month suggested the government was preparing to increase the penalties.
The country’s power shortages last summer were partly blamed on increased electricity use in minting coins, and even licensed miners were asked to shut down their equipment. They were allowed to resume operations in September, but were again ordered to suspend activities in the face of growing power shortages during the cold winter months.
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