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Crypto mining machines could flood into Iran amid China crackdown, official warns

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An official warns crypto mining machines could flood into Iran amid intensifying crackdown in China.

A senior Iranian Energy Ministry official has warned against the flood of illegal cryptocurrency mining machines into the country amid an intensifying crackdown on crypto miners in China.

Monday reports in local news agencies showed that CEO of Iran’s electricity company Tavanir had raised serious concerns about the issue in a letter addressed to authorities in the country’s anti-trafficking department.

Mohammad Hassan Motavali Zadeh had said in the letter dated July 19 that because of the highly subsidized electricity prices Iran the country would be a major destination for illegal trafficking of computers used for crypto mining, a process which is very energy-intensive.

“The possibility for the arrival of those machines from China to our country in the upcoming weeks is evaluated at very high,” read part of the letter.

The official expected that a majority of the crypto mining machines would be transferred out of China as the country is introducing very harsh measures to control the practice.

Estimates published in mid-July showed that China’s share of the electricity needed to run crypto mining machines had fallen to below 50% in April from 75.5% in September.

Experts believe a recent crackdown in China would cause a major drop in the capacity for crypto mining in the country and would push miners to move to other countries like Russia, Kazakhstan and Iran.

Iran has blamed a surge in illegal crypto mining activity for a part of its electricity shortage problems in recent months.

Authorities say the machines have been responsible for 3-5 percent of the country’s peak electricity consumption of over 65 gigawatt hours recorded in hot summer days in recent weeks.

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