Licensed Iranian crypto miners ordered to halt production ‘altogether’

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Eshaq Jahangiri, the first vice president of Iran under Hassan Rouhani, has called on all legally operating crypto miners in the country to stop producing coins.

According to a Wednesday report from the Tasnim News Agency, Jahangiri said at a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Energy that the electricity restrictions for Iranians were likely to continue until early August, purportedly in line with Rouhani’s previously announced prohibition on crypto mining. The president said in May that crypto mining would be banned in the country until September in an attempt to conserve power during the summer months.

“We will ensure that the electricity will not be cut off in essential and important places,” said Jahangiri. “Licensed miners must also stop production altogether.”

Crypto and Bitcoin (BTC) mining as an industrial activity has been legal in Iran since 2019 as long as the miners are licensed and regulated accordingly. However, many unlicensed miners — some with just a few rigs, and one with as many as 7,000 — have been illegally tapping into the country’s electric grid, seemingly forcing authorities to raid homes and shut down operations.

Related: Proposed bill in Iran could ban all foreign-mined cryptocurrencies

As the crackdown progresses, Iranians continue to report restrictions on electricity use. On Tuesday, Mohammad Shariatmadari — the minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare — said the power was cut off in his home for two hours. Iranian authorities who discover crypto miners using their household’s energy to power rigs may fine the homeowners or seize the equipment.

There has also been a push by some lawmakers to prohibit the use of payments with cryptocurrencies that were not mined within Iran’s borders. Last week, the Iranian Parliament Commission on Economy proposed a bill that would make the country’s central bank the regulatory authority for the exchange of cryptocurrencies in the country and officially place crypto mining under the regulatory purview of the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade.