The risk of Iran’s cryptocurrency mining operations could lead to further power cuts this winter, the state – owned power distribution company said Sunday.
Following the ban on cryptocurrency mining in May, authorities authorized this energy-intensive exercise in mid-September, which, among other reasons, contributed to the satisfaction of Iran’s poor power grid this summer.
The public power company now fears that “at least 10% of power outages this winter will be caused by the use of illegal mining machinery.”
The country has been hit with repeated power cuts this summer, “20% of which were caused by illegal cryptocurrency machines,” the company said in a statement.
As the temperatures in the areas crossed 50 degrees these blackouts provoked the anger of the population and the police launched several operations against the illegal miners who were accused of wasting energy.
Iran was one of the first countries to legalize the “mining” of bitcoins in September 2018, on the condition that its makers obtain prior approval from the authorities.
Iranians unofficially exchange 700 bitcoins every day, according to a parliamentary report, with 324,000 bitcoins “mined” each year in the world, in 19,500 Islamic republics.
Officials say cryptocurrency transfers are a way for Iran to soften the effects of US sanctions that are suffocating its economy.
Many foreign companies, tempted by lucrative electricity tariffs, have also flown into Iran from China, Russia, Germany or Australia and gained the power to collect bitcoins. Today, only Chinese companies continue to collect.