Iran police seized 45,000 Bitcoin mining rigs for illegally using subsidized electricity from the state-owned power utility Tavanir

According to Mohammad Hassan Motavalizadeh, head of Tavanir, the efficient application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) bitcoin miners had been consuming 95 megawatts (MW) per hour of electricity at cheaper prices. And recently, according to the local Tasmin News Agency, the Iranian police announced the arrest of 45,000 Bitcoin mining rigs for the unauthorized use of subsidized electricity from the state power company Tavanir.

Iran seizes 45,000 Bitcoin miners for illegally using subsidized government electricity

The Iranian Energy Ministry stated:

“Authorized miners are charged around 4,800 rials ($0.11) per kilowatt-hour in autumn, winter, and spring. Subsidized rates maybe half as much.”

Since 2019, when cryptocurrency mining becomes legal in Iran, the Iran Republic has closed 1,620 illegal mining farms, local media reported earlier this month. The farms consume 250MW of electricity.

Now, Iran is facing severe power shortages due to soaring winter demand, with constant power outages across major cities. The government decided to blame Bitcoin mining for the dire situation. As a result, Iran’s Ministry of Energy has temporarily cut off the supply of 600MW of electricity to all authorized BTC miners in the country, redirecting energy for home use.

According to the Tasmin News Agency report, the authorities also stopped production at a large mining operation in the southwestern part of Iran. The facility is owned by a China-Iran investment company and is believed to be using tens of thousands of ASIC miners to extract Bitcoin.

Some cryptocurrency researchers have argued that while miners are being targeted, they are not responsible for the current power outages. Ziya Sadr told the Washington Post that Bitcoin mining accounts for only a very small portion of the total national electricity consumption in Iran, where demand peaks at 40,000 MW in winter.

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