Authorities in Iran have reportedly confiscated 7,000 machines used for mining cryptocurrencies, the highest amount seized so far by the country.
The mining machines were found in an abandoned factory in the western part of Tehran, the country’s capital, said Tehran police chief, Hossein Rahimi. The seizure comes only a few weeks after Iran’s authorities temporarily banned its citizens from mining Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies.
Mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin involves a competition between powerful computers, all of which try to solve complex mathematical problems for a reward. During the mining process though, large amounts of electrical energy are consumed by these computers, hence, the reason for the ban.
The restriction, which would last for about four months, was said to be part of the Iranian government’s efforts to reduce power blackouts caused by an increasing electricity demand, especially during hot and dry summers.
Over the years, cheap-state subsidized power often generated from the abundant fossil fuels in Iran has attracted many cryptocurrency miners, especially from China to Iran.
In 2018, Iran’s financial economy was hit hard when the then US government canceled an important nuclear deal with them, imposed sanctions on them, and even went as far as calling out to crypto exchanges to monitor Iranian use of cryptocurrencies.
Although some restrictions were attached to their decision, Iran still continued to show their support when they promised in 2020 to provide miners with energy from three different power plants in the country. The current ban on mining is clearly temporary and will likely be lifted as soon as local grids return to normal production.