Iran to shut down Bitcoin miners as electricity demand spikes

The upcoming summer season is set to increase electricity demand in Iran. The Middle Eastern country will reportedly remove licensed cryptocurrency miners from the national grid to prevent outages.

Iran set to cut off crypto miners

A report by Bloomberg said that a spokesperson from the Iran power industry, Mostafa Rajabi, had confirmed that the country would shut down all licensed crypto miners on June 22, 2022. The country currently has so far licensed 118 mining operations.

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This is not the first time that Iran is shutting down miners, citing increased demand for electricity. Last year’s ban was lifted in September. However, the country’s recent ban has not been categorized as temporary or permanent.

Mashhadi noted that power outages had been reported over the past few weeks. The demand for electricity in the country had surpassed 60,000 megawatts, and if the grid continued to supply energy to miners, the strain would affect the power supply at a crucial season.

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Crypto mining in Iran

Crypto has been considered an alternative for countries seeking to circumvent sanctions and participate in international trade. The Middle Eastern country is under heavy US sanctions, and in 2019, it turned its focus to the crypto mining industry. The country started issuing licenses to Bitcoin miners, who then sold the mined coins to the Iranian central bank.

However, the relationship between Bitcoin miners and Iranian authorities has not been smooth over the years. The country has regularly halted mining operations. Last year, Bitcoin mining was shut down twice after electricity demand reached unsustainable levels.

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Before the ongoing conflicts between miners and the authorities, Iran ranked among the top Bitcoin miners by hash rate. However, mining operations in the country have been on a steady decline, and the current shutdown will not have any major impact on the global hash rate.

The Bitcoin Mining Map analytics from Cambridge show that Iran is steadily falling behind other countries in mining operations. In May 2021, Iran accounted for 4.5% of the global mining operations. The country’s hash rate increased further to 6.9% in June 2021. However, as of January 2022, the hash rate had sharply declined to 0.2%.

The country has also had conflicts with illegal miners. In 2020, Iran started requiring all miners to obtain the required license. The country has since seized many mining rigs that have failed to obtain the required licenses from the government.

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