The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor Abdol Nasser Hemmati has recently revealed that the government is looking to authorize crypto mining within the country. However, those operating computer systems to earn from their support of crypto networks would be charged for electricity at export price instead of subsidized rate.
In recent months, Iran has become quite the Bitcoin mining hot spot due to its generous electricity subsidy. Chinese crypto miners have been reportedly moving to the nation to take advantage of low prices.
Per a report by local news outlet PressTV, the CBI governor said the government has now approved sections of an executive law which would permit crypto mining by Iranians.
The authorization includes conditions such as the electricity rate charged to crypto miners would be at the country’s export rate, ranging from approximately 7c to 10c per watt. Several crypto miners in Iran had been utilizing the heavily subsidized rate charged to regular citizens. At merely 5c per watt, it is unsurprising why such a spike in the activity has been recorded recently.
According to the bank governor, another condition was that mined digital currency must “be fed back to the national economic cycle.” Presumably, it is a measure aimed at cracking down on Chinese miners who allegedly set up in Iran to exploit cheap energy.
Hemmati added that the CBI would not authorize any new currencies backed by other assets—gold, currencies, etc.
The Iranian central banker’s announcement comes as something of a surprise considering the previous happenings in the country. The spike in the numbers of crypto miners taking advantage of the subsidized power has forced regulators to implement a crackdown. They have reportedly confiscated numerous computer systems from mosques, greenhouses, factories, and other locations.
Iran’s deputy governor for new technologies has confirmed that crypto trading is banned in the country. Involvement in such activity could land them in prison for up to five years.
Several analysts think adopting a digital currency to counteract the US economic sanctions could be beneficial for Iran. Given its stance towards the technology, however, the country seems very cautious to explore that.