back to article Iran's blame-it-on-Bitcoin 'leccy shortage probably isn't a US hack cover story... yet

Iran claims that recent surges in electricity demand, leading to blackouts and brownouts, were caused by too many cryptocurrency miners’ power-hungry machines being hooked up to the national grid – though all may not be as it seems. Radio Free Europe reported that Iranian energy ministry spokesman Mostafa Rajabi blamed alt- …

  1. DCFusor Silver badge

    A mix

    I'd suggest a mix between real attacks going both directions, and flat out make-it-up propaganda, also going both ways. It's obvious that there are other agendas at play here.

    Just sayin'. The obvious answers are often correct.

  2. Paul Herber Silver badge

    ... TV boasted of new generation capacity coming online.

    A new process has been developed that can convert Bitcoin back into reusable energy. How? Blockchain is always the answer.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Is this "private" individuals or government sponsored mining? With embargos it might be a good (for some value of good) way to raise some money. OTOH, there's something that says this is an excuse for them doing something else using the 'leccy.

  4. Danny Boyd
    Go

    How to preserve cheap electricity for masses and at the same time hinder the bitcoin miners? Simple: make the electricity prices nonlinear. Like income tax in most countries. Will be good for environment as well.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      I've encountered a variant on that: cheap tariffs with capped usage. From memory, the cheapest tariff would not allow you to draw more than 3KW, which works fine if you don't do anything intensive (like an electric cooker or shower) and schedule middling-load things to avoid running all at once.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Capped draw would inconvenience legitimate uses for short term higher draws, but having small caps on monthly usage would make 24x7 high draw like bitcoin mining untenable while not affecting those who use normal amounts of power.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          You organise your life around usage patterns that work. Just as with "Economy 7" you schedule certain things - like running the dishwasher - for overnight. I lived with that tariff for something over two years, and it's no great hardship. I think it was entirely practical (though possibly also historic): if you have a more limited grid than perhaps the typical commentard is accustomed to, then having a decent chunk of your users capped like that helps with managing demand peaks.

          If it doesn't work for you, just use the next tariff up.

          1. Spacedinvader
            Flame

            I certainly wouldn't run dishwashers, washing machines or anything else with a high power draw while I slept. Apart from the noise;

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48841038

            https://www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/public-safety/home-safety/washing-machine-and-dishwasher-fire-safety

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      It's been a long time since I've worried about it, but in both Texas and Kansas, residential users have been faced with increasing rates as their usage goes up for both electricity and water.

      This isn't just "tax the rich"--the system produces the cheap stuff first. As system demand goes up, the cost of a marginal unit of production goes up too.

      Of course, the operators abuse the system, but...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Iran is quite sunny

    Perhaps using solar power to generate bitcoin would work. Cheaper than nuclear too.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Iran is quite sunny

      Also a large population. I have no data to back this, but I expect solar provides a growing but modest part of their energy.

      As for cheaper, that depends on externalities, including US sanctions nonsense that's sure to be hampering the growth of that solar energy.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Iran is quite sunny

      Connecting into the grid without using a meter is cheaper and less conspicuous than a field full of very expensive solar panel, which are possibly on the sanctions list. Except of course, as we see, large power draws can be identified and located.

      I wonder if this would have been a story if the bitcoin miners had been paying market rates for the power they used? And, as alluded to above, maybe it's effectively a nationalisation of the local bitcoin mining industry and the Govt. will re-locate them and continue running them. A Govt. run scheme in what is effectively a dictatorship could run a very large farm. This could be enough to do things like foreign trade or de-stabilise (even more) the worldwide bitcoin market (would that affect the world much?)

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Iran is quite sunny

        Would the sanctions list matter there? Surely there are - or could be - solar panels free of US technology? A Chinese supplier would be an obvious choice - even if sanctions deny them the use of the regular international banking system for payment and raise hassle and cost.

        But of course, they're a sitting-duck target for a country that faces exceptional levels of threat from hostile powers.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Iran is quite sunny

          "Would the sanctions list matter there? "

          Maybe. The thing with sanctions, especially when placed and enforced by a large trading nation, is that said large trading nation then goes on to levy fines or trading restrictions with any country or company who trades restricted items with the sanctions target. If you have little to no links with the sanctions imposers then, as a company you might decide to go ahead and trade. But expect pressure to be applied to your government and have the pressure passed on down to you. Trade is a heavily intertwined worldwide network, more so than ever in the past. It's much harder to break sanctions without yourself becoming a target/victim.

  6. Chris the bean counter

    Centrifuges

    Maybe the Republican Guards forgot to tell the leccy board they had spun up a few thousand centrifuges (Dont Know why they bother, a plane load of gold to North Korea will probably get them a nuke much easier)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I recommend

    ...a RBMK reactor fuelled with natural uranium, with a very short burn-up cycle and frequent reprocessing, completely without any supervision until the USA returns to the nuclear deal. I'm sure all that lovely Pu239 bred could be put to use for research and medical purposes ;D

  8. Notas Badoff

    Um, summer?

    Say, when does summer come to Iran? Is it possible that there are more air conditioners running than crypto-mining gear?

    1. Binraider666

      Re: Um, summer?

      Prior to the revolution, the US was building a bunch of multipurpose DDG's based on the Spruance hull for Iran. Obviously, they weren't delivered. The ships were completed anyway and entered US service as the Kidd class. These were well known for being far better air-conned than other US DDG's; and therefore a somewhat more desirable posting than many.

  9. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Ok, own up...

    Who imported a large batch of GE Smart [sic] bulbs into the country recently?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is your fridge Iran?

    Better catch up to it.....

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