News ID: 319057
Published: 0334 GMT December 29, 2021

Iran reinstates ban on crypto mining to avoid blackouts

Iran reinstates ban on crypto mining to avoid blackouts
ARASH KHAMOOSHI/NYT

Iran has decided to halt operations of authorized cryptocurrency mining centers to avoid blackouts in the winter during which energy consumption steeply rises in the country.

The shutdown is the second this year as Iran is cracking down on illegal mining carried out by both individuals at home and larger-scale industrial units, Press TV reported.

It will be in place until March 6 with the aim of freeing up 209 megawatts of power for consumption in the household sector, Managing Director of Iran Grid Management Company Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi was quoted as saying.

“The Energy Ministry has been implementing measures since last month to reduce the use of liquid fuels in power plants, including cutting licensed crypto farms’ power supply, turning off lampposts in less risky areas and stringent supervision of consumption,” he said.

The residential and commercial sectors use natural gas for space heating which, according to local reports, uses 70% of the fuel consumed in Iran.

Energy consumption is unusually high in Iran, driven by massive subsidies provided by the government. An unusually dry spring has also left Iran struggling with hydropower shortages.

The country first put a blanket ban on crypto mining in the summer, when power demand hit a historic high amid hot temperatures. The decision came after dozens of cities across Iran faced power outages, with social media and news outlets blaming them on bitcoin mining.

Since then, the government has been enforcing restrictions on authorized crypto mining operators and working to combat illegal crypto miners. In late November, local energy authorities announced that they had seized 222,000 mining devices used for illicit crypto mining.

Rajabi Mashhadi said unlicensed operators account for the largest share of crypto mining in the country, consuming more than 600 megawatts of electricity. The ban imposed in summer was subsequently lifted in September after authorities said the power grid had become more stable.

Countries with cheap electricity have emerged as major hosts of cryptocurrency mining.

 

   
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