Iranian Gov Suspects Massive GeForce RTX And Radeon RX Mining Farms Are Causing Power Outages
The graphics card shortage we find ourselves in this year is at least partially caused by cryptocurrency miners snagging mass amounts of cards with bots, or by other means. That sort of GPU gluttony does not come without consequences, however, as Iran is now finding out. With over a dozen large crypto-mining operations based in Iran, the power needed may have caused blackouts across the middle-eastern country.
Since mid-January, it seems that rolling blackouts have plagued Iran, but this is not a new occurrence for the people. However, this is on top of the coronavirus battle, U.S. sanctions, and other issues that put the country under stress, and people are looking to place blame. According to the Washington Post, government officials have blamed bitcoin mining farms have caused the issues, but the government’s leniency on crypto-farms may have caused the issue in the first place.
Iranian authorities have stated that there are at least 14 “legal bitcoin farms” in-country, as France24 reports. These farms are popular because electricity is incredibly cheap if you can get to Iran and set up a farm legitimately. France24 explains that “Iranian officials claim they sell electricity 10 times more expensive than this price to the bitcoin farms, [but] according to statements made by the Chinese companies operating in Iran, Iranian authorities sell them the electricity at a great rate: 0.022 euros (equivalent to 0.027 dollars) per kilowatt per hour.”
When electricity is this cheap, companies can afford to set up large operations, which the government likely leaves unchecked. France24 further reports that all of these cryptocurrency farms consume upwards of 300Mw to 450Mw of electricity in total, which is about the same consumption as a 100k+ person city. This sort of power consumption seems to have rippling effects throughout the country, as evidenced by the rolling blackouts. Subsequently, the Iranian Minister of Energy has admitted that "these outages might have been caused by 'bitcoin farms' consuming large amounts of power.”
Ultimately, if bitcoin miners are causing the blackouts in Iran, they are effectively making money off regular folks suffering during said blackouts. Obviously, bitcoin miners vehemently deny that they are causing the issues, but they may at least partially to blame. Either way, as issues increase in Iran and something is bound to give; be it the government, the people, or perhaps the bitcoin miners.