Chinese cryptocurrency miners have officially requested to set up shop in Iran, taking advantage of cheap energy to power and cool their electricity-intensive servers.
Countries with cheap electricity have emerged as major hosts of cryptocurrency mining. China is a major player in the bitcoin market, hosting a substantial share of miners.
According to the managing director of Iran Blockchain Association, a nonprofit community which promotes blockchain technologies, initial discussions have been held with the Chinese about their plans in Iran.
“The Chinese have made requests through official channels for cryptocurrency mining in free zones,” Mohammad Sharqi said.
At home, the Chinese government has begun limiting cryptocurrency mining, forcing many prospectors to find bases elsewhere.
Chinese companies are among the biggest manufacturers of bitcoin mining gear. They sold about $1.30 billion of blockchain hardware in 2017, 45 per cent of global sales by value.
In Iran, domestic cryptocurrency mining has officially been recognized as an industry but different state organs remain uncoordinated when it comes to the overall policy.
Nasser Hakimi, deputy governor for new technologies at the Central Bank of Iran, said on Monday bitcoin trading is illegal, citing a ban by the local anti-money laundering authority.