IRAN (BA)NS BITCOIN MINING FOR NEARLY 4 MONTHS
Iran has banned the energy-intensive mining of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for nearly 4 months, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, as the country faces major power blackouts in many cities.
“The ban on the mining of cryptocurrencies is effective immediately until September 22 … Some 85% of the current mining in Iran is unlicensed,” Rouhani said in a televised speech at a cabinet meeting.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are created through a process known as mining, where powerful computers compete with each other to solve complex mathematical problems. The process is highly energy intensive, often relying on electricity generated by fossil fuels, which Iran is rich in.
As next month’s presidential election approaches, the blackouts have been widely criticised by Iranians. The government has blamed the power cuts on cryptocurrency mining, drought and surging electricity demand in summer.
According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, around 4.5% of all Bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, allowing it to earn hundreds of millions of dollars from cryptocurrencies that can be used to lessen the impact of U.S. sanctions.