Iranian police confiscated more 45,000 bitcoin mining machines, chewing up around 95 megawatts per hour (MWh) of electricity, because the miners were using cheaper, subsidised power illegally, according to local media agency Tasnim News.
To put that in perspective, that’s around half the capacity of South Australia’s Tesla “big battery” plant (aka Hornsdale).
Iranian authorities had already shut down around 1,620 illegal cryptocurrency mining farms using around 250MWh of power over the last 18 months, the Financial Tribune reported. In recent months the country has been dealing with blackouts in its major cities.
Iran pioneered the licensing of cryptocurrency mining in mid-2019, but all miners had to be registered with authorities by August 2020. Because of the blackout problems, the country has been forcing authorised bitcoin farms, consuming a staggering 600 MWh of electricity (enough power for around 600,000 homes), to close temporarily to keep the lights on.
Tasnim News reported that recent videos on social media showed a large cryptocurrency farm, owned by a Chinese-Iranian investment company, with tens of thousands of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) machines mining digital currency, that the Energy Ministry cut off electricity supply to.