The move to shut illegal cryptomining farms has gained pace in recent weeks following the President Hassan Rouhani’s order on banning cryptomining by the end of summer to alleviate pressure on the national power grid.
Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) announced Wednesday that more than 3,000 unauthorized cryptocurrency mining hardware have been detected and seized only during the past seven days.
Tehran Province solely accounted for 513 seized hardware. Law enforcement officials announced earlier that they shut 183 crypto farms in Tehran province during the past fiscal year, confiscating more than 11,000 illegal hardware.
Nearly 600 mining hardware have been sized in Kerman. Illegal mining farms were also detected and closed in Khuzestan, Mazandaran, Qom and Bushehr provinces.
Tavanir also warned unauthorized miners last week saying that its patience was running out. The company warned those who mine cryptocurrencies at home, asking them to switch off their mining equipment. “Failing to comply their equipment will be confiscated and their electricity will be cut.”
Unlicensed miners use almost 2,000 MW. However, high consumption is not the only problem, as illegal miners inflict damage on power distribution systems, which is one cause for the outages.
It was also announced that Illegal miners who apply for a license from the Ministry of Industries in the next four months will be eligible for tariff discount.
In July 2019 the government said it would accept cryptomining as a legal industry. Miners were required to acquire a license from the Ministry of Industries and pay their electricity bills based on export rates.
In April the Energy Ministry published revised regulations for guiding cryptomining as per which 16,574 rials are charged for one kilowatt-hour of electricity.
The tariff will be cut by half when household consumption is low and the grid is not under pressure as usually is the case in the summer months.
Rates double during restrictions like when power plants do not receive enough gas as feedstock or the national grid faces problems supplying households.
The base rate is four times the previous 4,800 rials for one kilowatt-hour. Electricity prices for cryptomining are set as per power export tariffs and based on currency rates at Nima — a currency platform where forex is traded among importers and exporters.
Call for Rules
President Hassan Rouhani called on financial authorities to develop rules for legalizing cryptocurrencies, and ultimately protecting investors’ money.
“Any measure in this regard must be in line with the national interest…The issue of regulating cryptocurrency trade needs to be handled by experts…as hasty decisions might result in considerable losses,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA on Tuesday.
Rouhani also called on capital market officials to make use of social networks and media outlets to raise public awareness about cryptocurrencies.
A study conducted by the High Council of Cyberspace shows total bitcoin trade in Tehran alone amounts to approximately 30-40 trillion rials ($130-174 million).
A recent study by the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mining, shows almost 12 million Iranians have invested in cryptocurrencies.