Chinese Crypto Miners are Exploiting Iran’s Cheap Electricity

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Chinese Bitcoin miners are relocating to Iran. Despite lacking concrete evidence supporting this, the low price of electricity is encouraging the supposed exodus.

According to local news publication, PressTV, Iranian government minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi claims that the subsidised energy provided by the Iranian state for citizens is making Bitcoin mining in the nation attractive.

“The Chinese government has no plans to get involved in Iran’s cryptocurrency mining. However, China’s private sector and individuals may be involved in this area.”

Said by Iranian minister, in recent months, bitcoin mining in Iran has become more and more popular because of lower electricity costs and increased profitability. Many Iranians pay only 5 cents per watt, which is about 5% of the energy price exported from Iran to other countries.

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In April 2019, Chinese miners found that electricity prices in Iran were very affordable (about 0.041 RMB/kw). Liu, a Chinese miner described how he smuggled machines across the border, while Iranian border officials confiscated at least 40,000 different mining machines. Even at the risk of confiscating the mining machines, cheap electricity prices still attract miners from all over the world.

”I have transported some miners to Iran with the help of these friendly customs officers, I declared the mining machines as a “different type of computer processor”. So far, I have transported 3,000 T9 ant miners to Iran, but there is still a large gap from my target of 20,000 mining machines.”

The Chinese crypto miners face a lot of challenge when transferring mining machines to Iran. Some miners reached a cooperation agreement with local power plant to provide them with electricity resources at a price of $0.009 per kilowatt-hour (about 0.06 yuan), and the two sides also agreed to carry out a “seventy-three percent” to further reduce operating costs. But two months later, however, the plant changed its idea and doubled its electricity price.

Nevertheless, Liu is optimistic about Iran’s mining prospects and believes that everything will be eventually improved. At present, only Iranian bonded areas allow Chinese miners to import and export mining machines in accordance with Iranian law, and tax-free welfare is provided. In addition, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also supported the establishment of a huge cloud computing industrial park, which may be followed by a new trade agreement with Iraq.

It is estimated that Bitcoin mining currently consumes about 700 megawatts of electricity a day in Iran, which prompts the Iran government to ban individuals from bitcoin mining. The sudden increase in electricity consumption in Iran is destabilizing the country’s power grid. The unstable grid will affect other users who do not absorb large amounts of electricity from the grid. Iran government confiscated about 1,000 mining machines from individuals at the end of last month.

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