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Iran’s Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade issued over 1,000 additional permits for cryptocurrency mining firms, according to a report by the Financial Tribune.
Amir Hossein Saeedi Naeini, an official from the local information and communications technology sector’s Guild Organization, said that “the crypto mining industry has the potential to add $8.5 billion to Iran’s economy.”
As Decrypt reported in August, Iran enacted legislation that officially recognizes cryptocurrency mining as an industry, in a bid to create jobs and attract foreign investments. However, the long-awaited legal certainty came with additional costs for miners—and trading in cryptocurrencies remains illegal in the country.
Naeini also suggested that in order to help boost the mining industry in the country and generate more revenue, the government might need to modify electricity rates, noting that, “High electricity tariffs plus stringent regulations have made the sector less appealing for small investors.”
A concern for Iran is that local miners could (and actually do) easily move to more crypto friendly neighboring countries, including Georgia—ranked second-most profitable for crypto mining in 2018—Armenia or even Iraq, according to Hamed Salehi, a local cryptocurrency and blockchain researcher. Speaking to Al Jazeera last year, Salehi noted that the worst-case scenario for the country would be if professional mining outfits quit the industry and their place was filled by a “large network of ordinary citizens” in search of easy profits using home mining devices.