Things aren’t turning out to be smooth for Chinese Bitcoin miners heading into Iran to profit from cheaper electricity rates.
Long before China hinted it may consider halting Bitcoin mining projects, the exodus began and Iran recently became a hotspot for miners along with parts of South East Asia such as Vietnam and Cambodia. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is now looking to siphon off a number of industries which include cryptocurrency mining as part of a state cleanup.
The Iranian venture for many of those Chinese miners deciding to make the move has gone sour, and reports coming back from Iran highlight some of the issues which have made the Middle East less attractive than was at first perceived.
One issue has been getting the equipment across the Iranian border. One miner Liu Feng reported that the chance of losing equipment at the border has become common, with Iranian customs confiscating at least 40,000 crypto mining rigs to date. Some rigs can be sneaked through if presented as non-mining processors for those lucky enough to be able to strike up a deal with customs officials. Feng explains the reason for the confiscations:
“Because of [Iran’s] huge electricity subsidy, the government has added this energy-hungry device (bitcoin miner) to the list of 2,000 banned shipments to come in.”
The same mining enthusiast, Lui Feng also had problems pricing his electricity supply with a local supplier after his supply tariff was doubled just two months into operation. A subsequent set up resulted in angry locals complaining about the noise emitted from his rigs, resulting in miners being confiscated.
Despite these hurdles, Chinese Bitcoin miners are still optimistic that it can get better for them in Iran. With the Iranian government now accepting crypto mining as a legal activity, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is behind a new cloud computing industrial park. Also, there are rumors that Tehran may get behind the import of Bitcoin mining hardware.
Currently, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are still detaining or confiscating machines at border points with tough import rules still in place.
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