The state TV of the Islamic Republic of Iran is reporting that the relevant authorities in the country have taken steps to stop operations in two crypto mining “farms” in central Iran. The report, broadcast on Thursday, said that the farms were draining electricity at an extremely rapid rate, and that its 1000 machines were consuming nearly 1 megawatt of electricity each and every hour.
Cryptocurrency mining, which usually involves the solving of high order mathematical functions for the purpose of verifying and updating crypto transactions in a distributed ledger system called the blockchain, usually requires the usage of a large amount of power. It frequently even receives flak because of its supposed role in environmental damage and deterioration.
According to the state TV report, the two farms had been running in some abandoned factory sites in Yazd’s central province. The report did not tell us anything about the specifics of the cryptocurrencies that were being mined in the setup. Over the past few months, reports of crypto miners mining Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies led officials of the energy department to become wary of the possibilities of people consuming electricity without authorization.
Last year, in 2018, Iran had imposed a strict ban on financial transactions involving the use of cryptocurrencies after the country’s authorities struggled with issues of money laundering and a fall in the value of Rial, Iran’s official currency.
Even though concerns about the environmental implications of Bitcoin mining have repeatedly come up in the crypto enthusiasts’ discussions, it would be worthwhile to note that crypto mining is not necessarily devastating to the environment in all settings. In fact, a recent report from CoinShares tells us that this industry relies increasingly on renewable energy sources, much more than most other industries do. Christopher Bendiksen, who heads research at CoinShares told the press that:
“Our current approximate percentage of renewable power generation in the Bitcoin mining energy mix stands at 74.1%, more than four times more renewable usage than the global average energy mix.”
Clearly, crypto mining gets quite a bit of undue flak for damaging the environment when we are affecting it as adversely through our other lifestyle choices, be it the consumption of processed food, fast fashion or usage of traditional automobiles. Having said that, the Iran incident does help point out how it can indeed damage our nature sometimes.