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Crypto mining activities in Iran temporarily banned until March 2022

The temporary ban on crypto mining is expected to free up 209 megawatts of power for household use,

Nature Bridge and Parks, Tehran, Iran / Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Fri, 31 Dec 2021, 06:20 am UTC

Crypto mining facilities in Iran will halt operations for more than two months. The move is part of the government’s efforts to ease the strain on the country’s power supply to save power and avoid blackouts this winter.

For the second time this year, Iran has ordered a shutdown of authorized crypto mining facilities to manage power consumption and avoid blackouts, according to Bloomberg. The ban will last until March 6, 2022, according to Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, a spokesman for the country’s power industry and a director of the state-run Iran Grid Management Co.

The temporary ban on crypto mining is expected to free up 209 megawatts of power for household use, according to Mashhadi in an interview with state TV. In May, the government also temporarily halted crypto mining until September 22 due to power outages as hydropower production dropped due to below-average rainfall.

Iranian authorities are also renewing their crackdown on illegal crypto mining carried out by both individuals and larger operators. Mashhadi estimates that unlicensed miners account for a larger share compared to their licensed counterparts and consume more than 600 megawatts of electricity.

To further reduce the strain on the nation’s power supply, Iran implemented other fuel-saving measures such as regulating electricity consumption in offices and turning off the street lights in some areas. However, Rajabi Mashhadi said that the government expects the power situation to normalize by summer with production to increase by 60 percent.

While lower than expected rainfall is a factor in the series of blackouts across major cities earlier this year, the government also partly blamed crypto mining as partly to blame due to the activity’s high energy consumption. The collapse of China’s Bitcoin mining industry might also have played a role as operators decided to relocate elsewhere, especially in locations with cheaper power rates. In fact, countries such as Iceland and Kazakhstan have to place power consumption limits in their respective crypto mining industries due to the strain in their power grids.

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