Iran has ordered a blanket ban on block reward mining activities in the country, putting the activity on hold until September at the earliest, citing concerns about the impact on the country’s energy supplies.
This week, President Hassan Rouhani announced the embargo at a cabinet meeting earlier this week, stating that it will extend until at least September 22. The action comes after major energy supply disruptions in recent weeks, including blackouts in the country’s capital, Tehran.
Officials in Iran’s government have quickly identified block reward mining as a cause of supply issues, estimating an estimated 85 percent or more unlawful mining activities across the country.
Iran is responsible for about 4.5 percent of global digital currency mining activity, the great bulk of which is still BTC mining. The low cost of energy in Iran and the simplicity with which digital currencies can be used to pay for imports have been a big draw for miners.
Mining digital currencies like Bitcoin consumes a lot of energy, which has led to widespread criticism of the practice’s environmental impact.
With Iran’s energy supply already under significant strain due to frequent usage, the government’s steps are being implemented in order to protect the national supply and limit the number and length of blackouts in the country.
Heat and dryness in the country have exacerbated digital currency mining, with precipitation levels down 43 percent on the long-term average, despite increased demand from domestic users.
The crackdown comes at the same time mainland China considers legislation that would stop digital currency mining and trading. Separately, as part of efforts to attain carbon neutrality, authorities in the country’s Inner Mongolia province have announced plans to ban block reward mining fully.