With the government in Beijing cracking down on their operations, Chinese miners have been on the lookout for other jurisdictions. Providing low-cost energy, Iran has emerged as a prospective destination. However, the country’s state-owned power utility has expressed concerns over a possible influx of miners and illegal imports of mining hardware from China.
Tavanir Warns About Flood of Chinese Miners and Equipment Into Iran
The Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company, Tavanir, has issued a warning regarding the entry of Chinese cryptocurrency miners into Iran amid China’s ongoing crackdown on the industry. The state-run utility shared its concerns in correspondence with the Central Taskforce to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Currency.
In a letter published by the economic news website Eghtesadnews, Tavanir CEO Mohammad Hussein Motevallizadeh referred to media reports on the shutting down of mining facilities in China. The government offensive against the sector could push Chinese miners into other countries, the executive cautioned, according to the report quoted by the English-language business daily Financial Tribune.
Calling for the implementation of stringent controls to prevent a massive influx of mining companies and coin minting hardware from the People’s Republic into Iran, Motevallizadeh stated:
Lower electricity costs make Iran attractive to Chinese miners. They are likely to start smuggling mining equipment into the country.
Cryptocurrencies have enjoyed growing popularity in Iran with many Iranians investing amid rising prices over the past year. Cheap, subsidized electricity has catalyzed crypto mining as well, and the Islamic Republic recognized it as a legal industrial activity in the summer of 2019. The importance of Iran as a mining destination has increased and according to a study by the University of Cambridge, the country accounts for over 4.6% of the global hashrate.
According to the Financial Tribune, 50 permits have been issued to mining entities in Iran but in late June the Ministry of Industries, Mining, and Trade counted 30 licensed crypto farms. That was after the department’s April announcement that miners will pay 16,574 rials ($0.39) per kilowatt-hour, four times the initial rate, and some of them may have been forced to go underground or even out of business. Iran’s largest licensed mining facility, in the city of Rafsanjan, is Chinese-owned and operated.
The energy-intensive minting of digital currencies was listed among the main causes of electricity shortages and blackouts across the country this summer, with record-high temperatures significantly increasing power demand. In May, the government in Tehran said it would shut down even licensed miners during hours of peak consumption. Meanwhile, Tavanir has been going after illegal mining operations, seizing over 200,000 units of hardware in the past few months. The devices have used an estimated 750 megawatts of electricity equal to the total consumption of five provinces, the power utility claims.