Iran’s state electricity company has warned that illicit cryptocurrency miners in the country could cause new power cuts this winter.
Illegal cryptocurrency mining will account for at least “10 percent of electricity outages this winter”, the power company said in an October 10 statement published by the official government news agency IRNA.
Such illegal mining was responsible for 20 percent of blackouts over the summer, the statement added.
Iranian officials have repeatedly blamed unlicensed cryptocurrency miners for using vast amounts of electricity — draining the power grid and raising air pollution levels in many cities.
The operations are an enormous energy drain because they use banks of high-powered computers to try to unlock complex numerical puzzles related to international financial transactions.
Iranian news agencies have reported frequent police raids on “illegal farms” for cryptocurrency.
Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic estimates that around 4.5 percent of global bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, allowing the country to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies that can be used to bypass U.S. sanctions, which have crippled the country’s economy.