China is among the most preferred locations for cryptocurrency miners, owing to cheap electricity, low population, and cold climate provided by cities such as Sichuan. However, mining activity is now slowly falling due to the lack of enthusiasm for the same on the part of Chinese policymakers.
Iran has today emerged as a direct competitor in this regard, and its cheap electricity is transforming it into a growing hub for cryptocurrency mining. What’s striking however, is the fact that many Chinese miners are turning to Iran now.
According to the Managing Director of Iran Blockchain Association, Mohammed Sharqi,
“The Chinese have made requests through official channels for cryptocurrency mining in free zones.”
The actions and policies of Chinese policymakers are forcing crypto-miners to find a new home abroad. However, this may be tricky as despite the fact that domestic crypto-mining is accepted in Iran, there are different state organizations that are not too keen on the same.
Crypto-miners in Iran are setting up their mining rigs at locations that have electricity access at a subsidized rates like mosques and factories, causing a 7% hike in electricity consumption last month. This has led to an emerging crackdown on Bitcoin miners in the country.
The decision of cracking down on miners is paradoxical to Iran’s own efforts in the digital currency realm. This was criticized by many in Iran’s crypto community, with Sharqi saying,
“Our argument is there is a danger that these activities might go underground and to the homes of ordinary people, which is dangerous.”
According to Mohammed Javad Azari, Iran’s Minister for Communications and Information Technology,
“If there is a demand by foreign investors in this regard, the Ministry of Energy could take advantage of it and welcome them in order to develop infrastructure and produce electricity.”
His response followed reports that Chinese crypto-miners were interested in the Iranian cryptocurrency market.