Iran bans crypto mining in the face of widespread blackouts

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As South Africans go through today with the threat of loadshedding at the back of their minds, Iran has made a curious decision regarding cryptocurrency mining.

The Western Asia country has reportedly banned the mining of cryptocurrency until 22nd September following a series of power outages in major Iranian cities.

Blame has been placed on cryptocurrency mining for these outages hence the ban has been announced. Officials also say that increased manufacturing and a drop in hydroelectric supply means that Iran’s power grid is in a state of flux.

While one might not imagine Iran is a big destination for crypto miners, it is. According to the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Alternative Finance, Iran is the six biggest country where mining takes place, just behind Malayasia. China is by far the leader in cyrptocurrency mining accounting for 65.08 percent of the global Bitcoin hashrate.

This makes sense however as Iran approved cryptocurrency mining as an industrial activity back in 2019 leading many companies to set up operations in the country.

According to Bloomberg, Iran’s 50 licensed mining centres consume a combined 209MW of electricity. Of concern are the unlicensed mining operations which accounts for 85 percent of activity in the region.

In fact secretly mining cryptocurrency in Iran is such a problem the country employs spies to root out unlicensed mining operations. If an unlicensed mining operation is discovered, the miner is met with a hefty fine.

For those wondering, according to University of Cambridge’s Centre of Alternative Finance, South Africa contributes just 0.05 percent of the average monthly Bitcoin hashrate.

That’s higher than we expected what with all the rampant power cuts we experience locally.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.