Iran's government introduced new regulations this weekend to manage its approach to digital assets and related activities such as cryptocurrency mining.
Although Sharia-compliant Iran has already banned the trading of cryptocurrencies, it has welcomed cryptocurrency mining. Due to abuse by mining farms of Iran's access to subsidised electricity, however, the country had begun a crackdown on unauthorized mining activity.
After several months of debate the government announced in parliament on Sunday new rules to regulate the industry. It officially ratified its position on cryptoasset trading as illegal and set out the conditions under which crypto mining would be allowed.
Under the new rules, digital currency miners must obtain the approval of Iran's industry ministry. Furthermore, large mining farms must not be located withing 30 kilometers of all provicial centres excepting the capital Tehran and the central city Esfahan.
The cabinet directive added that using electricity or natural gas to mine cryptocurrencies would be forbidden during peak consumption times. Mining machines, meanwhile, must conform with standards set by the country's communications regulator.
Most importantly, fees will increase: the charges power needed for mining operations will be equal to the average rial price at which the country exports electricity to other nations, or 70% of the average rial price at which its ships its natural gas.
The Mininstry of Energy and the Ministry of Oil are to announce the official rates in the coming days. Finally, the bill stated that crypto miners would be taxed at the same rate as industrial manufacturers with exemptions for those that export mined cryptoassets and return the revenue back to Iran.
Relaxing its Approach
While the government said it regarded crypto trade as unlawful, its stance appears to be relaxing and Iran has announced it is considering the launch of a central bank-issued digital currency to help circumvent the impact of US trade sanctions.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that four Iranian banks were working with a tech company called Ghoghnoos to launch a cryptoasset-based payment system called PayMon - a gold-backed token based on the Stellar network.