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Iran: intelligence agency now to detect unauthorized miners

The Iranian government turns to its intelligence officers to track down illegal crypto mining facilities
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The government of Iran is turning to its intelligence officers to track down illegal crypto mining facilities.

The measure was taken less than a week after the Energy Ministry announced that digital currency miners who use household electricity will be sanctioned with heavy fines. Iran is going through a difficult time regarding its electricity supply, and mining is worsening the situation.

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The Ministry of Intelligence has been establishing committees all over the country that will be in charge to locate mining farms that operate without a license, according to the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency.

Tavanir, the state-run grid operator, raised the reward for tip-offs to those reporting illegal mining facilities this year. The recompense went to 200 million rials, or 873 US dollars, which is more than seven times the minimum monthly wage in the country.

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Cryptocurrency mining blossomed after 2019 when the Iranian government categorized mining as an industrial activity. Many companies started the activity, helped by low-cost electricity and power plants. More than 1,000 licenses were issued by the Ministry of Industry, Mining, and Trade in 2020. 

Due to issues linked with the electrical grid, power plant companies proposed to offer mining activities their excess electricity. The government agreed to the proposal, but since it wasn’t able to guarantee subsidies on their fuel supplies, permitted them to mine digital currency themselves.

Following last year’s directives, crypto mining is now allowed to use only the electricity that comes from power plants. Mining farms have to be registered by the government. Their owners have to verify their identities, the dimensions of their facilities, and the types of gadgets they are using.

“According to the laws and regulations announced by the cabinet and the Energy Ministry, we have been allowed to allocate some capacity of our power plants for mining cryptocurrencies.”

Mashhadi Rajabi, a spokesman of the Iranian Energy Ministry

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