Iran has announced the go-ahead for crypto mining, but only under strict conditions.
New licenses will only be issued to mining farms supplied by power from renewable energy sources, according to the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade (MIMT).
“The issuance of an operating license requires an electricity supply from renewable power plants,” said the ministry.
It added: “The extension of the organization license is not allowed for other methods of supply.”
However, the number of cryptocurrency farms in the country is growing and the problems associated with energy shortages persist.
The ministry says the only way to prevent illegal mining operations is to provide energy from other sources and make those sources legal. There was no mention of what those sources might be.
Provincial organizations will be informed of any change in the rules including whether, in the future, crypto mining using other forms of energy will be permitted.
Iran ordered a shutdown of authorized cryptocurrency mining centers last Dec as part of efforts to ease the stress on power plants and avoid blackouts.
At that time, illegal mining operations were consuming more than 600 megawatts of electricity.
Tehran is not ideologically opposed to crypto mining, with MIMT issuing more than 1,000 licenses.
But decades of US sanctions have led to under-investment in infrastructure.
Iranian authorities officially recognized cryptocurrency mining in 2019 and later established a licensing regime that required miners to identify themselves, pay a higher tariff for electricity, and sell their mined bitcoins to the Central Bank of Iran, reported the BBC.
Blackouts were a regular occurrence last summer prompting president Hassan Rouhani to announce a four-month ban on crypto mining.
Iran is keen to boost its green credentials. Last Oct, the Ministry of Energy, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (SATBA) invited the private sector to help develop and build renewable power plants with a total daily capacity of 10,000 megawatts.