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Iran bans cryptocurrency mining

Iran has banned the energy-intensive mining of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for nearly 4 months, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, as the country faces major power blackouts in many cities.

“The ban on the mining of cryptocurrencies is effective immediately until September 22 … Some 85% of the current mining in Iran is unlicensed,” Rouhani said in a televised speech at a cabinet meeting.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are created through a process known as mining, where powerful computers compete with each other to solve complex mathematical problems. The process is highly energy intensive, often relying on electricity generated by fossil fuels, which Iran is rich in.

The government is keen on ensuring access to electricity for domestic consumption during the hot summer months, which are historically peak periods for power demand.

Iran’s economy has been hit hard since 2018, when former President Donald Trump exited Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and reimposed sanctions.

Iran has accepted crypto mining in recent years, offering cheap power and requiring miners to sell their bitcoins to the central bank. Tehran allows cryptocurrencies mined in Iran to be used to pay for imports of authorised goods.

The prospect of cheap power has attracted miners, particularly from China, to Iran. Generating the electricity they use requires the equivalent of around 10 million barrels of crude oil a year, or 4% of total Iranian oil exports in 2020, according to Elliptic

Source: Reuters, Cointelegraph