Iran issues 30 new licenses for crypto mining firms

The Islamic Republic of Iran has doled out new permits to mining firms to regulate the mining sector while still maintaining an industry-wide cryptocurrency mining ban.

According to a publication from the Financial Tribune, the Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade has handed out licenses to 30 crypto mining firms to continue their operations in the country. This is coming amidst China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining within its borders. Iran’s latest move however exempts the firms that bagged these licenses.

Per the report, two provinces in Iran alone received ten licenses; six of the licenses were issued to firms operating in the Semnan province, while Alborz-based firms received four licenses. Mazandaran, East Azerbaijan and Zanjan got licenses, respectively. Meanwhile, Tehran province, Iran’s capital, got just one license.

Although the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang, Mongolia etc., are known for their cheap sources of electricity, Iran, an oil and natural gas-rich nation also generates affordable sources of electricity, positioning it as a hotbed for crypto mining activities. Several companies took advantage of Iran’s cheap electricity sources to set up mining rigs, sparking a regulatory clampdown. However, before the clampdown, Iran had imposed a commercial electricity tariff for firms engaging in crypto mining activities.

President Hassan Rouhani, back in May, announced a blanket ban on crypto mining operations within its borders, typifying China’s crypto mining crackdown policies. Rouhani cited the heavy load on Iran’s electricity grid caused by mining firms during the hot summer as the chief reason for the blanket ban. However, the latest issuance of licenses and exempting of these firms signals a rather regulatory approach than an outright ban.

According to several media reports, Iran issued at least 1,000 crypto mining licenses to firms operating within its territory in 2020. Speculations as to Iran trying to shore up its ailing economy from sanctions from the broader international community were commonplace in the media for Iran’s embrace of crypto mining operations.

Bitcoin’s hashrate dropped significantly after China’s crypto mining crackdown within its borders led to an exodus of these crypto entities. Although the Asian giant cites environmental concerns as its reason for the ban, China appears not to want to give the impression that it is softening its anti-crypto hardline stance. China continues to register its strong aversion to cryptocurrencies even in 2021 with the ban on mining and social media clampdown on crypto-related accounts and entities. In June, China’s version of Twitter, Weibo, purged dozens of crypto-related accounts. It had blocked and deleted accounts of Justin Sun, Huobi and even Binance in 2019, signalling it will come for anyone contravening its anti-crypto laws. To further reiterate its tough stance, just last week, China’s apex bank, People’s Bank of China (PBOC), warned that all banks and internet payment operators cease interacting with crypto entities and activities. Per the warning, all licensed financial institutions should refrain from providing account opening, registration, trading, settlement and clearing services to cryptocurrency-related activities.

Like Iran, the state of Texas is taking actions to attract fleeing mining firms from China and other hostile regions to its borders.

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