miners in warehouse

Iran tightens penalties for illegal block reward miners

Iran wants to tighten the penalties for block reward miners operating outside their scope. The government intends to brandish new fines and jail time for individuals to deter illegal miners from operating.

The Iranian government has had enough of the antics of illegal miners and wants to tighten its grip on the industry. According to a Tehran Times report, the government plans to rein in the sector by imposing sky-high fines for miners who operate illegally using subsidized electricity.

“Any use of subsidized electricity, intended for households, industrial, agricultural and commercial subscribers, for mining cryptocurrency is prohibited,” said Mohammad Khodadadi Bohlouli, a staff of the Iranian Power Generation, Distribution, and Transmission company, according to the local media outlet.

The proposed rules will see an increase in applicable fines by a minimum of three times and a maximum of five. The potential five-fold increase of the fine will also be accompanied by revocation of business licenses in the event of multiple infringements. As a last resort, the government floats the threat of imprisonment to offenders.

The reason for stricter penalties is predicated on the energy shortage that the country has experienced in recent months. In 2021, Iran temporarily suspended all mining activities as it grappled with providing energy supply for its citizens. Challenges such as drought, lack of rainfall, and sweltering heat adversely affected the country’s electricity supply, forcing the hand of the government.

The Tehran Times reported that the use of subsidized electricity has led to the damage of power grids and transformers, while refrigerators and other appliances of the citizens are developing electrical faults.

Iran’s digital currency paradise is fading away as it caught the eye of digital currency miners because of its cheap electricity and receptive approach to digital assets. In the beginning of 2020, Iran had granted licenses to 1,000 entities, with the figure rising steadily over the next few years. China’s virtual asset purge was also instrumental in the rise of block reward miners flocking to the country.

Iran was ranked as part of the top five countries that provided the largest BTC hash rates. However, the honeymoon was not designed to last as illegal miners took advantage of the lax ecosystem to set up their operations.

Consequently, the country reacted decisively by offering a bounty of over $2,000 to individuals who can expose illegal virtual currency mining operations. The increase in fines, revocation of business licenses, and jail time is a last gasp effort of the country to save its mining industry.

Watch: CoinGeek New York panel, How to Achieve Green Bitcoin: Energy Consumption & Environmental Sustainability

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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