- Authorities in Iran have seized approximately 45,000 Bitcoin mining machines in a raid on an illegal mining farm
- The farm was using subsidized electricity to mine Bitcoin without a license
- Bitcoin mining is government-approved but users must obtain a license
Authorities in Iran have seized approximately 45,000 ASIC Bitcoin mining machines from a mining farm that was illegally using subsidized electricity to run its operation. According to the Tasnim News Agency, the machines all belonged to a Bitcoin mining farm in south-eastern Iran that was making use of cheap electricity to mine Bitcoin but suffered the same fate as many other Bitcoin mining farms in the country – their electricity was cut off and the premises was raided.
Iranian Miners Taking Advantage of Cheap Power
The raid echoes similar raids that have taken place in Iran where Bitcoin miners have taken advantage of the favorable electricity rates to ply their trade. Following unusually high electricity usage in the area, the source was pinpointed and investigated.
When the mining farm was positively identified, the Energy Ministry halted the supply of electricity to the farm which is said to be owned by a Chinese-Iranian investment company. The premises was then raised by officials, with videos of the raid being leaked online according to Tasnim.
Bitcoin Mining Legal But Needs a License
Iran legalized Bitcoin mining in 2019 as a way to earn money outside of the sphere of American sanctions, with miners required to obtain a government license and the government itself getting a cut of the profits. Last year they estimated these profits to be as much as some $8.5 billion to the Iranian economy.
This need for a license resulted in authorities going after those still operating without a license and conducting raids, particularly in low-income areas where electricity is subsidized. Some have even tried to get around the rules by making the most of the free electricity afforded to mosques in order to operate Bitcoin mining equipment.