Blame Bitcoin? Iran hit by blackouts and smog amid electricity production woes

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Power-heavy cryptocurrency mining and a shortage of natural gas have been blamed for outages and pollution amid COVID crisis

File: Thick smog blankets the skyline, obscuring nearby mountains, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019 (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran is suffering vast blackouts and intense air pollution in recent weeks, amid electricity production problems blamed on Bitcoin mining and a shortage in natural gas.

Officials have said illegal cryptocurrency miners — who are paid to use farms of power-hungry machines to verify the legitimacy of cryptocurrency transactions — have been gobbling up power and putting immense strain on the country’s grid.