22 October 2019

Iranian government moves to authorize cryptrocurrency mining

KONFRONTASI-The governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has announced that the government is planning to authorize cryptocurrency mining despite the fact that there is no rule allowing its legal trade in the country.  

Abdol Nasser Hemmati said on Wednesday that the government had approved parts of an executive law which would allow cryptocurrency mining, an activity which has become increasingly popular in Iran over the past months mainly due to the relatively cheap prices of electricity.

Hemmati said the government had two main conditions for authorizing people to mine digital currencies like bitcoin.

“Mining of the international digital currencies should be done based on the price of electricity for export,” said Hemmati, adding, “What’s more important is that these mined currencies should be fed back to the national economic cycle.”

The official said the CBI would not allow any currency in Iran whose values are decided by the price of the national currency rial or gold or other assets.

The announcement comes amid an unprecedented surge in bitcoin mining in Iran. Authorities have launched a crackdown on illegal bitcoin farms in places like factories and greenhouses where subsidized electricity is used to mine the digital gold.

Unverified reports have even suggested that miners from China have launched several bitcoin farms across the country.

However, some believe Iran could use its abundant sources of off-peak electricity to feed such farms as it could generate wealth for the country at a time of increased economic pressure by the United States.

Iran currently exports each watt of power to neighboring countries at prices ranging from $0.7 to $0.10 while industrial and agricultural units, where bitcoin miners have been operating, receive the utility service at a cheap price of 0.05 per watt.[mr/ptv]

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