Iran returns seized cryptocurrency mining equipment from miners

A government body responsible for state ownership in Iran has released some of the hardware seized from illegal cryptocurrency mining farms. Its top executive said the agency was forced to do so by Islamic Republic courts, where unlicensed miners were accused of power shortages.

Iranian authorities return confiscated mining rigs to their owners

The Iranian Organization for the Collection and Sale of State-owned Assets (OCSSOP) has begun returning some of the mining devices seized during raids into underground cryptocurrencies to miners. He was ordered to do so by Iranian courts, the English-language business newspaper Financial Tribune reported.

Quoted by the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, the head of the organisation, Abdolmajid Eshtehadi, detailed:

Currently, around 150,000 [units of] cryptocurrency mining equipment is held by OCSSOP, much of which will be released following court rulings. The machines have already been returned.

The official further explained that Iran Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Company (Tavanir) is expected to make proposals on how to use the mining hardware without causing damage to the national grid.

Iran legalized cryptocurrency mining in July 2019, but has since halted authorized coin-minting operations on several occasions, citing power shortages during the summer and winter months when electricity consumption spikes. It has also cracked down on Iranians who mine outside the law.

Companies that want to mine legally must obtain licenses and import permits from the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Commerce. The devices must be approved by the Iran Standard Organization and the miners are required to pay for electricity at export tariffs.

Minting cryptocurrencies using natural gas or electricity intended for other purposes and consumers is illegal in Iran. But underground mining facilities powered by the cheaper and subsidized energy have grown in number, avoiding licenses that would force them to pay much higher tariffs.

Over the past two years, the state-owned Tavanir company has shut down the power supply to all identified illegal mining facilities, confiscating their equipment and fining their operators for damage to the national distribution grid.

Since 2020, the utility has found and shut down 7,200 unauthorized crypto mining farms. In July of 2022, he vowed to take tough measures against unlicensed cryptocurrency miners who, according to previous estimates, had burned 3.84 trillion rials ($16.5 million) in subsidized electricity.

The release of the mining rigs comes despite the Attorney General’s Office banning such moves until Iran’s parliament adopts legislation addressing the issue of illegal mining. In August, Tehran’s government approved a comprehensive set of cryptocurrency regulations and in September began licensing mining companies under the new regulatory framework.

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confiscation, crypto, cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency miners, cryptocurrency mining, cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrencies, Iran, Iranians, miners, mining, mining devices, mining equipment, mining farms, mining hardware, mining machines, mining rigs, restitution, seizure, Tavanir

Do you think the Iranian authorities will continue to return the confiscated mining machines to their owners? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a tech-savvy Eastern European journalist who likes Hitchens’ quote: “Being a writer is who I am, rather than what I do.” Besides cryptocurrencies, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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