Iran Moves to Heavily Fine Crypto Miners Using Household Electricity
The Iranian government has introduced new rules that prohibit cryptocurrency miners from mining bitcoin at home. According to the local news agency The Tehran Times, home miners caught breaking the law would be fined heavily.
Iran Cracks Down On Illegal Crypto Miners
Although crypto mining is legal and accepted by the Iranian government, some crypto miners have reportedly been using household electricity to mine to bypass paying higher tariffs.
Besides the fines, erring miners would also be required to pay extra fees for damages caused to the power network.
Mostafa Rajabi, a spokesperson for Iran's Energy Ministry, said that the need to monitor crypto mining was necessary as it was one of the two biggest threats to Iran's electricity supply. The second threat Rajabi noted is a reduction in power coming from hydropower plants due to the lack of rainfall.
The government's new measures would also see illegal crypto miners who are caught provide compensation for potential damages caused to the electricity network.
According to Rajabi, up to 87% of crypto mining operations in Iran are illegal, and these unauthorized crypto mining can damage the local power grid and lead to blackouts.
Crypto Mining In Iran
Since July 2019, crypto mining has been accepted as a legal industry in Iran. Miners in the country are required to obtain an operating license from the Ministry of Industries and pay their electricity bills based on export rates.
Now that mining is legal, miners have complained about the high power tariffs. This caused a brawl between the miners and the government and led to some miners leaving their farms to use household electricity instead.
Another issue between the Iranian authorities and the country's crypto miners is the constant nationwide power outages. In January, the Iranian government had reportedly shut down 1,620 unregistered mining farms, blaming them for the widespread blackout, which left millions of people without power.
Iran is a notable player in the Bitcoin mining market. The country ranks among the top 10 countries where miners operate due to its cheap energy.
Despite the trouble with miners, Iran sees crypto mining as a way to generate income for the country. Last year, Iran started exploring the potential use of cryptocurrency as a tool for mitigating the crippling impact of economic issues faced at the time.
The Central Bank of Iran unveiled new rules that directed the proceeds of the mined Bitcoin to be used as government funds to finance the country's imports. Using cryptocurrencies for foreign trade was one way the government could avoid the adverse effects of the economic sanctions imposed by the US.