- Iran has lifted its ban on bitcoin mining instituted in May, and licensed farms can come back online.
- The government sought to restrict energy usage during the summer's three months due to the high toll temperatures and air conditioning take on the country's power grid.
- Iran's cheap electricity attracts bitcoin miners, who set up shop there to increase profit margins.
Iranian bitcoin miners have been given the green light to spin up their rigs back online, Iran International reported. Since the beginning of the summer, mining operations had been at a halt over concerns that the country's power grid wouldn't be able to handle the extreme heat months. Only licensed farms are allowed to come back online.
In May, Iran's former president Hassan Rouhani announced a ban on bitcoin mining that would last until late September in an attempt to restrict mining farms' energy usage. At the time, Rouhani said miners who had a state permit for operating their business consumed only 30 megawatts (MW) of power, whereas unauthorized miners consumed 2,000 MW.
The summer months usually increase energy demand in Iran when high temperatures prompt citizens to overuse air conditioning. But now that September is gone, and with it, the summer, miners can spin up their rigs and restart operations. It is estimated that the country houses around 4.6% of miners globally.
However, only licensed miners are allowed to come back online. Unlicensed mining operations are likely to receive intense scrutiny in Iran in the future, following the many raids authorities conducted during the four-month ban. On September 29, Ali Sahraee, CEO of the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE), reportedly resigned after bitcoin mining rigs were uncovered in TSE's basement during one of such raids.
In 2019, the Iranian government said it would regulate the mining industry, requiring bitcoin miners to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Industries and pay for the power consumed based on export rates. As of August, the state agency had reportedly issued 30 licenses for bitcoin mining farms. Semnan province received the most of them, six, while second-place Alborz province housed four operations at the time.