Mining of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be prohibited in Iran amid government concerns over high levels of energy consumption, President Hassan Rouhani announced on the country’s state television network today.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the ban will last four months and will be lifted on September 22. During his speech, President Rouhani also pointed out that about 85% of crypto miners in the country are likely unlicensed.
The latest restriction was likely catalyzed by a wave of rolling blackouts in several major cities last week. Apart from the heat, drought, and surging demand for electricity, the country’s officials also named cryptocurrency mining among the factors contributing to the energy shortage.
Member of parliament Hossein Haghverdi reportedly stated that frequent blackouts are becoming “a serious security issue” and urged the government to find the real reasons behind them.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for one of Iran’s electricity companies told Arab News that it had to cut off four “overusing” government bodies from the power grid on Saturday. At the same time, several registered mining farms reportedly suspended their operations voluntarily to help lower energy consumption.
Simultaneously, according to a recent report by blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, Iranian miners are responsible for around 4.5% of Bitcoin’s total hash rate across the world. As a result, local mining facilities could be generating up to $1 billion worth of coins per year.
Lately, other countries have launched their own crackdowns on Bitcoin mining amid growing concern over its energy consumption. In China, the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia—which had previously attracted Bitcoin miners thanks to its abundant and cheap coal power—has now proposed to “blacklist” certain miners from the country’s social credit system.
In early May, a new bill was proposed in the State of New York, which could result in a temporary suspension of local mining activity while its actual environmental impact is being researched.