Iranian police reportedly seized 45,000 bitcoin mining equipment for illegally using subsidized electricity from the state-owned utility Tavanir, local Tasmin news agency reported this week.
According to Mohammad Hassan Motavalizadeh, head of Tavanir, the efficient bitcoin miners were consuming 95 megawatts (MW) of electricity per hour at cheaper prices for application specific integrated circuits (ASIC).
Authorized miners pay around 4,800 rials ($ 0.11) per kilowatt hour in the fall, winter and spring, according to the Iranian Ministry of Energy. Subsidized rates can be half as high.
Since 2019, when crypto mining became legal in Iran, the Islamic Republic has closed 1,620 unauthorized mining farms, local media reported earlier this month. The farms used 250 MW of electricity, it said.
Currently, the Middle East country is facing significant power outages due to soaring winter demand, with power outages in major cities. The government decided to blame Bitcoin mining (BTC) for the dire situation.
As a result, the Iranian Ministry of Energy has temporarily cut power to all licensed BTC miners in the country by 600MW and diverted energy for domestic use.
According to the Tasmin News Agency report, authorities have also suspended production at a huge mining operation in southwestern Iran. The facility is owned by a Sino-Iranian investment company and reportedly uses “tens of thousands” of ASIC miners to mine Bitcoin.
Some cryptocurrency researchers have argued that while miners are targeted, they are not responsible for the current power outages. Ziya Sadr told the Washington Post that bitcoin mining accounts for a very small percentage of national electricity consumption in Iran, where winter demand peaks at 40,000 MW.
What do you think of the Iranian government’s seizure of Bitcoin equipment? Let us know in the comments below.
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