Iranian Crypto Mining Farms Voluntarily Shut Down Amid Rolling Blackouts

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In Brief
  • Iranian officials are blaming the rolling blackouts partly on cryptocurrency mining activities.

  • Some official mining farms voluntarily shut their power down to reduce strain on power grid, amid forced shutdowns.

  • Blackouts lasting at least two hours will affect Tehran, and the Alborz and Khorasan Razavi provinces.

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Iran has begun rolling blackouts, a last resort measure to prevent a total electrical blackout in the region.

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While cryptocurrency mining shares some of the blame from government officials, some official mining farms shut their power off voluntarily. So as to the ease the burden on the country’s electricity network.

The rolling blackouts will impact the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as the Alborz and Khorasan Razavi provinces. Reports indicate that the power cuts will last at least two hours and could last into the evening. 

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Iranian officials have blamed the blackouts on the rising electricity demand that goes with crypto mining. Among other root causes, which include the heat, and drought that in turn affects generation of hydropower.

The government published a report this month which revealed a 43% decrease in rainfall compared to the Iranian average. This decline could mean precarious things later in the year for the country’s water supply.

Reports also state that electricity companies implemented shutdowns at four government bodies with excessive power usage.

Iran’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining

The rolling blackouts are the latest measure the Iranian government is putting in place to reduce the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining. It is a hotbed of activity for the mining community, who find its subsidized energy prices appealing.

The government even gave permission for power plants to mine cryptocurrencies in their own right back in 2020. However, in the last couple of weeks, Iran has started cracking down on crypto mining activities. Due to the increased strain on the country’s power grid.

On May 16, reports stated that anyone caught mining cryptocurrencies on their household electricity would receive heavy fines. Furthermore, they would be forced to pay compensation for the resulting damage caused to the electricity network. Also, at the time, reports referred to warnings that, if crypto mining activities continued at their current rate, blackouts could be expected in the country.

Less than a week later, reports revealed that Iranian government intelligence officers were rooting out any illegal crypto miners. The country’s Ministry of Intelligence established committees in various regions to locate and seize any unlicensed mining farms.

2021 has already seen the reward doubled for any tip-offs towards illegal crypto mining activities. The reward amounted at 200 million rials, which equates to nearly eight times the monthly minimum wage in Iran.

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Dale Hurst is a journalist, presenter, and novelist. Before joining the Be In Crypto team, he was an editor and senior journalist at a news, lifestyle and human-interest magazine in the UK. Cryptocurrency was one of the first subjects he specialized in when first going freelance in 2018, reviewing exchanges and analysing lawsuits.

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