The Iranian government has allegedly confiscated 45,000 bitcoin mining machines, claiming that they are using subsidized electricity illegally.

Local news outlet Tasmin News Agency reported that bitcoin miners have been consuming 95 megawatts per hour (MWh) of electricity, using application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) mining machines.

According to Mohammad Hassan Motavalizadeh, head of Iran’s state-run electricity company Tavanir the cost of electricity paid by these miners is too cheap compared to the volume of electricity they are using.

The current price of bitcoin is $35,906.25, climbing up by 1.85% in the last 24 hours. Bitcoin has a current market cap of $667.97B and market volume of $48.59B. In the last 24 hours, bitcoin has dropped to $34,727.11 and experienced a $36,840.13 high.  Currently, 18,603,750 bitcoins are in circulation.

Stats and Image from Coin Desk

Earlier this month, there were reports that the Iranian government shut-down 1,620 illegal cryptocurrency mining farms that were consuming 250 megawatts of electricity since July 2019.

Spokesman of Tavanir Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, reacting to the move said “Tavanir is strict in dealing with unauthorized miners, those who use subsidized power, such as unlicensed miners, will be fined as much as the loss they impose on the national grid. Their mining places will be disconnected from the national grid and face prosecution.”

Iran recently experienced a blackout across different cities. The government which believed cryptocurrency mining is part of the cause shut down a large Chinese-Iranian-run cyber currency centre in the south-eastern province of Kerman. 

In July 2019, the Iranian government gave cryptocurrency miners a directive to disclose their identities, the size of their mining farms and the types of mining equipment they use with the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade within one month.