Chinese crypto miners have reportedly reached out to Iranian authorities for permission to setup crypto mining operations in the country.
“The Chinese have made requests through official channels for cryptocurrency mining in free zones,” said Mohammad Sharqi, managing director of the nonprofit blockchain advocacy group Iran Blockchain Association, according to a report from Iranian news outfit PressTV.
Electricity costs in Iran can run as low as $0.006 per kilowatt-hour thanks to the country’s heavily subsidized electricity. Such cheap power has become a magnet for crypto miners, especially those from China.
Setting up a crypto mining operation in the country is not easy, however. Crypto miner Liu Feng revealed in an April 2019 report that even just bringing in miners can prove difficult.
“The risk of miners being detained and confiscated at the border is quite high,” he stated. “It’s said that Iranian customs have so far confiscated at least 40,000 crypto mining rigs of varied models.”
There has also been an ongoing crackdown on illegal mining activities in the country. On June 27, Iranian authorities seized roughly 1,000 mining machines from two abandoned factories due to the power surges the machines caused.
Iran’s Energy Ministry has proposed setting a special, non-subsidized price for crypto miners’ power-hungry mining rigs. Sharqi has also suggested giving out specialized licenses to mining operators.
“If there is a demand by foreign investors in this regard, the Ministry of Energy could take advantage of it and welcome them in order to develop infrastructure and produce electricity,” he said.