Whistleblowers Report 20% of Illegal Cryptomining Locations
EghtesadOnline: Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) says whistleblowers helped in almost 20% of the total illegal cryptomining farm detections since the beginning of the fiscal year in March.
avanir has announced rewards of up to 200 million rials ($725) for those who report illegal cryptocurrency mining centers, farms or homes. It says the reward policy is to encourage the people help it find and shut the illegal miners and reduce power shortages.
"Whistleblowers who provide Tavanir with information about unauthorized mining receive 100 million rials ($362) in cash rewards. The amount is doubled if the illegal miners are located in state-owned or public sector entities," Tavanir said in press release on Tuesday.
The utility says it has paid 30 billion rials ($108,600) to whistleblowers so far.
Tavanir data show that about 22% of subscribers were illegally using subsidized electricity for mining the digital currency in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. This is while the figure was 11% in the last Iranian year, IRIB reported.
Energy Ministry data also show a jump in electricity consumption in the past several months. The utility has officially blamed cryptomining as one of the reasons behind the nationwide power shortages, saying that households would face 80% less blackouts if the avaricious miners ended their unauthorized business.
In July 2019 the government said it accepted cryptomining as a legal industry and required miners to get operational licenses from the Ministry of Industries and pay their electricity bills based on power export rates.
However, businesses and experts blame cumbersome rules for obtaining licenses along with the high electricity tariffs for the growth in underground cryptomining.
As per rules, miners are charged 16,574 rials for one kilowatt-hour and the base rate is halved when household consumption is low and the national grid is not under pressure as usually is the case in the hot summer months.
Currently 56 cryptomining farms are operating legally using 400 megawatts. The total number of detected centers has reached 5,380 and 216,758 pieces of hardware have been seized from the illegal operators. The farms' collective power consumption is equal to the consumption of 800,000 households or 2 million people, the utility says.
The growing number of miners in residential units has raised concern as cryptomining at home is likely to damage power distribution systems.
Earlier Tavanir warned residential cryptominers and told them to switch off their mining equipment. "Failing to comply their equipment will be confiscated and their electricity will be cut."