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Iran Bans Crypto Mining to Avert Major Blackouts in Winter Season

Nicholas Otieno   Dec 29, 2021 08:20 2 Min Read


   

Iran has announced a fresh ban on licensed cryptocurrency mining in the nation until March 6 as part of a commitment to save power and avoid potential blackouts in the forthcoming winter season.

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Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, director of the state-run Iran Grid Management company and a spokesman for Iran’s power industry recently announced that the country has temporarily shut down all authorized cryptocurrency mining centres in order to ease the strain on the country’s power plants. The ban is the second time this year in an effort to avoid blackouts within the country.

In an interview with state TV, Rajabi stated that the ban will be effective until March 6 and will free up 209 megawatts of power consumption in the household sector. He added that authorities have been cracking down on illegal mining done both by individuals at home and large-scale industrial units. 

Rajabi stated that unlicensed operators in Iran account for the biggest share of crypto mining whereby they consume more than 600 megawatts of electricity. 

According to the executive, there will also be other fuel-saving measures such as turning off street lights within some areas while also regulating electricity consumption in offices. He further stated that the government aims for more than 60% of electricity production in the summer. 

Last week, the National Iranian Gas Company stated that the country witnessed a daily gas demand in household sectors that rose to unprecedented 570 million cubic meters per day while the country reached an upper limit of its natural gas production at 800 million cubic meters a day.

Global Disaster with Bitcoin Mining

Earlier in the year, there were a series of blackouts within major cities of Iran. Such unfortunate incidents prompted the government to ban crypto mining. In October, the state electricity company warned that illegal crypto mining in Iran risks new power cuts in the coming winter season. On several occasions, Iranian officials have accused unlicensed crypto miners of using huge amounts of electricity.

Iran was among the first nations in the world to legalize the mining of cryptocurrencies. In September 2018, the government required all miners to have a license. In May, authorities stated that illegal miners who normally have access to subsided electricity consume between six and seven times more electricity than those with licenses. In the same month, the government issued a temporary ban for all crypto mining, a day after the energy minister apologized for unplanned power blackouts in major cities. The ban was lifted in mid-September.

The majority of crypto mining had been for a long time centred in China, but that changed this year when the country’s ban led major operators to move to other nations. These operators had to choose nations that offer cheap power. As such, countries from Iceland to Kazakhstan placed limits on the power industry due to pressure associated with power grids.


Image source: Shutterstock

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