Bitcoin in Iran: Draining Energy for Authoritarian Gains

Chinese Bitcoin Besieging Iranian People
Engineers on a cherry picker adjust mining rigs at the CryptoUniverse cryptocurrency mining farm in Nadvoitsy, Russia, on Thursday, March 18, 2021. (Getty)

Iran has recently taken a decision to ban the mining of Bitcoin blocks on its territory for a period of 4 months. Iran had started mining Bitcoin at the beginning of 2019 with an official decision issued by the House of Representatives and with the approval of the Central Bank, on the grounds that it is a counter-financial policy in the face of US sanctions.

Iran has justified its ban by saying that mining has led to the consumption of huge amounts of fuel, especially since Iran is considered one of the countries that do mining through corrupt energy.

Some suggested that the Iranians would resume mining after the summer phase, because it is the most energy consuming period due to the intense heat.

In Iran, Bitcoin mining raises a lot of questions. Who is mining Bitcoin in a republic which is like a big prison? Is Bitcoin in Iran the people’s money or is it a means that the deep state benefits from to evade US sanctions, or is the mining not for Iran but for other countries?

When it was announced that Bitcoin mining had stopped in Iran, the “Documenting Bitcoin” page, one of the largest pro-Bitcoin pages, tweeted that local Bitcoin mining forces in Iran have just mined $1 billion worth of Bitcoin. It added that Bitcoin is out of the hands of the government and in the hands of the people.

Many did not like the tweet and questioned it. Tweeters responded by saying that the prospectors are nothing but groups affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which in turn oversees about 84% of the country's energy sources.

Banning Oil Export Came in Favor of Mining

Iran possesses a huge stock of oil and gas that is almost completely commercially disrupted as a result of US sanctions, which provide for the punishment of any international party involved in buying Iranian oil.

The accumulation of oil inside Iran has led to a huge drop in the price of fuel. Decrypt revealed that Iran's very cheap oil and gas were a major catalyst for Bitcoin mining.

What should be noted is that after two days of banning mining, Iran also banned buying and selling Bitcoin on trading platforms for fear of withdrawing its liquidity outside the country, while on the other hand, the Central Bank allowed Bitcoin to be used to pay for commercial transactions, which is described by the “Bitcoin Archive” page on Twitter, as a move that recognized Bitcoin as the second official currency in Iran.

Mining rig for cryptocurrency. (Getty)

Chinese Bitcoin Connection with Iran

A report issued by France 24 revealed that dozens of Iranian cities have witnessed power outages since the end of 2020, and at that time the Iranian state blamed the bitcoin mining farms. But according to the French investigation, most of the farms belong to the Chinese government.

It appears from the data of the report that Iran is subject to high-level Chinese mining as a result of its need for money. According to the report, officials in Iran say that they give electricity to mining farms at prices that are ten times higher than the market price.

However, data obtained by the French channel revealed that Iran provides electricity to Chinese companies that mine from inside Iran at a cost of 0.02 per kilowatt hour.

Among the most prominent Chinese miners in Iran is the RHY company, which the report says is trying to hide its activity in Iran and replaces that with the word "Middle East", which it describes as a paradise for mining.

The channel states that the company's activity sparked outrage in the Iranian street after it became clear that the amount of electricity obtained by the mining fields is sufficient to feed a village inhabited by about 100,000 citizens.

According to experts, Bitcoin farms in Iran will get 450 megawatts, while the Chinese mining field alone will get 175 megawatts.

The report also mentioned that there is another mining company operating in Iran and using a huge amount of electricity.

Bitcoin is Smarter Than Central Authorities

The Bitcoin community understands how dangerous it is for authoritarian states to be an active partner in Bitcoin mining, as Iran and China are.

But Bitcoin has a philosophy of extreme libertarianism. It is a popular drive, and it is impossible to subdue it through the central authorities.

Dictatorships can curtail mining in their favor as they control energy resources, but at the same time they cannot prevent citizens from accessing the decentralized Bitcoin network.

Decentralized crypto technology is establishing itself as a global resistance to centralization. Bitcoin is an art of technological resistance.

It is a tool that was established as a movement against the state in its general framework and against the bank in particular.

The power of the deep state always passes through the central banks, which establishes a financial authority that controls the choices of individuals.

Bitcoin is the classic in the face of all that is classic in the world. It even appears that it is a digital tool that intelligently kills that deep dimension of the state and dismantles its roots by enabling individuals to manage their money individually and within digital wallets, the breach of which needs to be hypothesized for a period of more than 4 billion years.

Creating a radical individualization away from censorship, changing the strategy of individuals towards their money and choosing Bitcoin as a savings store is a veiled violence that people began to practice against countries to fabricate it.

The availability of Bitcoin in dictatorial countries is a way for citizens to buy Bitcoin without going through the trading platforms approved by the state.

When segments of people adopt new ways of money, the move in the Austrian school concept is an attempt to get past the stage of feeling threatened.

Bitcoin differs from everything that preceded it in that it destroyed the essence of money and presented a new model for saving and jamming natural and human energy, preserving it and giving it material value within a single network and directing it towards a persistent goal of dismantling centrals and liberating individuals.

Bitcoin mining farms in non-democratic countries can act as a corner to extract energy from deserving individuals. It may seem that way, but the reality is quite different.

Bitcoin works to give priority to the energy of individuals over the energy of groups. Any individual can manage his digital wallet by himself and run a Bitcoin node on his computer. In the Bitcoin perspective, this represents the future uniqueness and leads the old economic and financial policies to destruction.

In its depth, Bitcoin's discourse falls under the category of directing energy towards correct and honest goals that peoples want.

If we look at Iran's scene through a wider lens, we discover that Bitcoin has exacerbated Iran's crises, as it has revealed the extent of the state's will to drain energy for its gains as a closed, authoritarian group that wants to fortify its future.

Whereas if we look at the spectacle of Iranians flocking to Bitcoin, we discover that the latter was a contentious option and its pace will increase.