Iranian authorities have confiscated 45,000 bitcoin mining rigs that used subsidized electricity to mine the cryptocurrency. This is yet another considerable seizure in the Middle East country, which has experienced frequent blackouts that the government blamed on BTC mining.
45,000 BTC Mining Machines Confiscated In Iran
Local media outlets reported that the police had seized about 45,000 rigs that consumed 95 megawatts per hour (MWh) of electricity at lower prices.
Head of the country’s state-run electricity company, Mohammad Hassan Motavalizadeh, said that the perpetrators also modified street lighting systems in Tehran and other cities.
“The total reduced consumption corresponds to the (electricity) usage for a city with a population of over half a million.” – he added.
The report outlined that the country has faced numerous similar situations in the past several months. Earlier this January, the Energy Ministry halted the supply of electricity to a giant farm in the southeastern region after a video circulating social media channels showed tens of thousands of BTC mining rigs situated under the same roof.
It’s worth noting that Iran became one of the first countries to legalize cryptocurrency mining in 2019. However, all miners had until August 2020 to register with the authorities, otherwise risk operating outside the country legislation. This is why Iran has initiated a nation-wide crackdown on various farms that failed to register within the timeframe.
Mining Blamed For Blackouts
The Middle Eastern country has experienced several issues lately that the government blamed on bitcoin. Apart from the aforementioned frequent blackouts, some of the nation’s largest cities have seen intense air pollution in recent weeks.
However, a popular crypto analyst Ziya Sadr told the Washington Post that bitcoin mining takes a low percentage of the overall electricity capacity and shouldn’t receive the blame.
“The miners have nothing to do with the blackouts. It is a known fact that the mismanagement and the very terrible situation of the electricity grid in Iran and the outdated equipment of power plants in Iran can’t support the grid.”
Separately, the absence of natural gas due to intense consumption to heat private homes has driven plants to use lower quality fuels that have polluted several cities.