Iranian authorities have swooped on a Bitcoin mining farm in the country and seized around 1,000 ASIC miners just days after the country’s state-run energy company, Tavanir, announced it was stamping down on miners who utilized subsidized power for the practice. State television reported that two abandoned factories had been targeted due to their disproportionately high electricity usage, with the resulting haul.
Iran Comes Good on Threat
Few other details emerged of the raid, but it clearly shows that Iranian authorities weren’t messing about after their warning to Bitcoin miners using subsidized electricity designed for domestic use that they would see their electricity cut. In fact they seem to have been even tougher, which is perhaps unsurprising given that the practice is illegal. Iran recently performed a u-turn on its stance and recognized Bitcoin as legal tender as a means of bypassing U.S. sanctions, which perhaps explains why authorities are coming down so hard on miners who are now effectively printing their own money.
Iran’s Rocky Bitcoin Relationship
Iran’s relationship with Bitcoin has been rocky to say the least. In April 2018 the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a statement banning the country’s banks and financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrencies. While this didn’t constitute a full ban it made it very hard for individuals to make use of Bitcoin seeing as they couldn’t legally convert it to cash or spend it very easily, making March’s decision to legalize it all the more telling. February also saw the launch of a gold-backed Iranian cryptocurrency, PayMon, while there is evidence that Iran is privately pro-mining while publicly denouncing it, further muddying already unclear waters.