Iran’s smog, blackouts made worse by power-sapping crypto mining – Aljazeera.com

Iran’s smog, blackouts made worse by power-sapping crypto mining – Aljazeera.com

Outages have been compounded by cryptocurrency mining, which uses banks of high-powered computers.

Cities across Iran have been cloaked in thick layers of toxic smog and darkened by blackouts, as the alleged use of low-quality fuel and power-sucking cryptocurrency mining deepen the country’s hardships.

Tehran’s Hamshahri newspaper, the country’s most-read daily, ran the headline, “20 Days Living in Smoke,” on Wednesday over a photo of the capital covered in smog.

Power plants have been forced to switch to burning low-grade fuel oils to generate electricity because high levels of domestic consumption have led to natural-gas shortages, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported. Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh denied earlier this week that any of Iran’s power stations are using fuel oil to generate electricity.

Other plants have shut down, resulting in blackouts in various cities including the capital, Tehran. Officials there said on Wednesday that pollution levels had become “dangerous,” ISNA reported.

Gas has become scarce because it’s used to heat most Iranian homes, and temperatures have been especially cold this winter. Household use has also increased as people stay at home to avoid coronavirus infection, while travel in private vehicles has shot up as people shun mass transport.

Household gas consumption was up by 30% in late November from a month earlier, Mohammadreza Joulaei, director of supply at the National Iranian Gas Co., told state TV.

The outages have been compounded by the mining of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which uses banks of high-powered computers
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