Ali Sahraee, the CEO of Tehran Stock Exchange, has resigned after Iranian authorities recently busted an illegal crypto mining operation in the basement of the bourse building, according to a report by Iran’s state media.

Fast facts

  • The authorities discovered the illegal mining rigs during a sudden inspection. The operation was being run by several miners, the state media report states. Sahraee had initially denied the existence of the mining operation claiming the equipment was part of a research project. However, upon confirmation of the news, the executive deputy director of the exchange later said the exchange should be held accountable for its actions and Sahraee subsequently resigned.
  • Iran began regulating crypto mining in 2018 and issued 1,000 licenses for crypto mining in January 2020. But the country had imposed a temporary ban on mining in May after cities suffered from unplanned blackouts. Iran is responsible for an estimated 4.5% of all Bitcoin mining and in his May address, Iran’s president said that 85% of crypto mining in the country is run by unlicensed miners that were draining over 2 gigawatts from the grid every day. The temporary mining ban was scheduled to be lifted on September 22.
  • In May, Bloomberg reported that Iran had enlisted intelligence officers to hunt and shut down all illegal crypto mining operations. According to the report, the country has been struggling with rising electricity consumption amid poor hydro power generation. The high demand in electricity even forced suppliers to cut electricity to office buildings and to dim street lights. In the government’s crackdown on mining, Tavanir, the state-run electricity supplier, declared a US$873 reward, over 7.5 times the minimum monthly wage, for reporting illegal mining rigs.