Iran’s state-owned power distribution company, Tavanir, has threatened harsher measures to discourage unauthorized crypto mining. These include much higher fines for those minting digital currencies with subsidized electricity and penalties for government officials involved in mining.
Tavanir Raises Fines for Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining
The Iran Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Company (Tavanir) has adopted new, more severe measures to prevent crypto mining outside the law. The utility’s spokesman Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi announced that fines for illegal activities in the sector have been increased by 400%. Quoted by the English-language Iranian edition Financial Tribune, he elaborated:
Unlicensed crypto miners must pay their electricity bills at rates four times higher than export rates that are already higher than the subsidized tariffs for households.
Mashhadi also said that first-time offenders will be denied access to subsidized energy, including electricity, natural gas and liquid fuels, for a period of three months after they are identified. And those that are caught again will be cut off from supply for a full year, the official added in a statement published on the website of the Iranian Ministry of Energy.
If crypto mining is detected at facilities owned by state-run organizations or public institutions, those responsible will face penalties under the law and will be suspended from their government jobs in the Islamic Republic, the report also revealed.
Just like last year, the government in Tehran has decided to restrict crypto mining, expecting the power deficit to increase during the hot months of the year when consumption for cooling rises. In June, Tavanir ordered licensed miners to halt operations until the end of this summer. The seasonal ban sparked negative reactions from the local crypto community.
In 2021, electricity shortages and frequent blackouts were partially blamed on the increased power usage for mining — both legal and illegal — and last May licensed miners were ordered to shut down. They were allowed to resume operations in September, but then again told to unplug their hardware as the cold winter months increased demand for heating.
Iran legalized cryptocurrency mining as an industrial activity in July 2019. Since then, dozens of companies have applied for a license from the Ministry of Industry and started minting coins with the low-cost energy offered by Iranian power plants.
However, as the electricity sold to households is much cheaper, many Iranians have set up improvised mining installations, increasing the load for the power generation industry. Iranian authorities have been going after these miners and, according to a report published in May, busted almost 7,000 underground crypto farms.
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Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
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