Opec member Iran has pulled the plug on cryptocurrency mining for four months after it was partly blamed for causing electricity blackouts in some cities.
‘Miners’ of cryptocurrency – such as Bitcoin - use high-powered computers in the mining process, which can be very energy intensive.
Although Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told a Cabinet meeting this week that the main reason for the blackouts was a drought that was affecting hydroelectric power generation, he also pointed the finger at cryptocurrency mining as a cause.
He said that such mining was draining 2 gigawatts per day from the national grid.
The vast majority of cryptocurrency mining in Iran is unlicensed, with Rouhani putting the figure at 85%.
“Now everybody has a few miners laying around and are producing Bitcoins,” Rouhani told the 26 May cabinet meeting.
Although the licensed miners in the country had already agreed to halt activity in an effort to ease the burden on the grid, Rouhani said unlicensed mining activity was responsible for far more energy usage and ordered all such cryptocurrency mining to cease until 22 September.
Electric car giant Tesla recently scrapped vehicle purchases using Bitcoin due to concerns over climate change impacts created by the mining process for the cryptocurrency.