Iranian authorities have allegedly seized 45,000 bitcoin mining rigs due to illegally using subsidized electricity from the state-owned power utility Tavanir, the local Tasmin News Agency reported this week.
As per information shared by the head of Tavanir, Mohammad Hassan Motavalizadeh, the efficient application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) bitcoin miners had been utilizing 95 megawatts (MW) per hour of electricity at cheaper prices.
Authorized miners are charged around 4,800 rials (approx. $0.11) per kilowatt-hour in autumn, winter and spring, says the Iranian Energy Ministry. Subsidized rates maybe half as much.
When crypto-mining became legal in Iran in 2019, the Islamic Republic has shut down 1,620 unauthorized mining farms, local media reported earlier this month. The farms consumed 250MW of electricity, it stated.
Currently, the Middle Eastern country is currently facing severe power outages due to rising winter demand, with rolling blackouts across major cities. The government chose to blame Bitcoin (BTC) mining for the desperate situation.
As a result, Iran’s Energy Ministry has provisionally cut the supply of 600MW of power to all authorized BTC miners in the country, redirecting the energy to household use.
According to the Tasmin News Agency report, the government also put a halt to production at a vast mining operation in the southwest of Iran.
Several cryptocurrency analysts have claimed that although miners are being targeted, they were not accountable for the current blackouts. Ziya Sadr told the Washington Post that bitcoin mining accounts for a very small share of the national electricity consumption total in Iran, where demand peaks at 40,000MW in winter.
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