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EghtesadOnline: Cryptocurrency miners have one month to register smuggled mining equipment, said a deputy minister of Industries, Mining and Trade, the body in charge of authorizing crypto mining industry.

"Most miners are using illegal hardware smuggled prior to legalization of the business. The government has decided to give miners one month to pay taxes and fees and legalize their business," IRNA quoted Saied Zarandi as saying. 

According to the official unregistered mining equipment will be considered illegal and impounded after the deadline. 

Experts say the sale of most cryptocurrency mining hardware is legal because the hardware and devices are also used in other sectors and imported legally by computer and technical hardware companies. 

In July 2019 the government said it would recognize crypto currency mining as a legal industry. This was first welcomed by miners, but later many complained about the higher electricity tariffs. They went underground to deceive the utilities.

The government significantly raised tariffs for crypto mining to 7 cents/kilowatt-hour, to raise revenue to address concerns over possible power outages in summer and prevent costly indirect subsidies going into the pockets of undeserving miners.

As per earlier announcements, miners are charged 4,800 rials for one kilowatt-hour that is half the electricity export rate in autumn, winter and spring. However, billings are planned to be based on 19,300 rials/kw, twice the price for exported electricity in summer (June to Sept).

Zarandi said the ministry has so far issued 624 licenses for mining farms. "We have received 15 applications for operational licenses.”

So far only two crypto mining units have permits, he added. "By allowing miners to register their illegal hardware, the number of authorized mining units is expected to increase."

Experts had earlier warned that pushing the industry underground was not in the government’s interest simply because it would hurt its revenues."

Regulatory framework requires miners to use standard equipment. In the black market there is no such need. Poor quality mining equipment can impose huge losses on the national power grid.

Officials say 1,100 illegal mining centers have been identified but many remain in business. How and why they are still operating is not known. 

In a recent move Iran's Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) said it would reward whistleblowers who name and shame unauthorized miners.


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