Cryptocurrency crackdown continues in Iran, China as price drops again

A reported 90 percent of crypto mining capability in China has now been shut down.
A reported 90 percent of crypto mining capability in China has now been shut down Photo credit: Getty Images

The crackdown by certain countries on cryptocurrency mining has continued with Iranian police seizing 7000 computers from an illegal farm, the country's state media has reported.

Iran has banned mining for four months as it attempts to reduce power blackouts caused by the increasing energy demands during a hot and dry summer.

Tehran police chief General Hossein Rahimi said the computers were seized in an abandoned factory, reported Reuters.

Elliptic, a blockchain specialist company, estimates around 4.5 percent of all bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, allowing it to avoid trade embargoes and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptoassets.

That estimate was based on data collected from miners and statements from Iran's state-controlled power generation company in January 2021 which showed up to 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity was being consumed by miners, Elliptic co-founder Dr Tom Robinson said.

"This level of bitcoin mining would currently bring in annualised revenues of close to US$1 billion," he added.

The energy intensive process for creating cryptocurrencies, also known as mining, was a major reason why Tesla CEO Elon Musk withdrew his support of bitcoin as a payment method for his cars.

He has said that once around 50 percent of bitcoin miners use renewable energies he will reconsider allowing its use.

Iran's move comes as China continues attempts to stop cryptocurrency mining and usage in the country.

In May it banned financial institutions from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions and this week bitcoin mines in the Sichuan Province were closed, one of China's largest crypto mining areas.

Chinese newspaper Global Times estimated it meant 90 percent of China's capacity for mining bitcoin had been shut down.

Meanwhile the value of bitcoin has continued to be volatile. From an all-time high in April of around US$64,800 per bitcoin, it dropped to below US$30,000 today.

It's currently valued at US$32,083 per coin after hitting a five-month low of US$28,814 earlier today.