Some Iranians do not seem to be very keen on China and its nationals. There are a wide range of possible reasons, from the cheap and mostly low-quality Chinese products once imported to Iran and their devastating impact on the businesses of local Iranian producers to the Chinese fishing trawlers ruining the livelihoods of local fishermen in southern Iran.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which originally broke out in China, was the last nail in the coffin, and increased unfavorable views of China to historic highs in Iran, as in almost all other parts of the world. But few people would have guessed the latest reason for Sinophobia in Iran: bitcoin.

In recent weeks, Iranian power plants have been forced to switch to burning low-grade fuel oil to generate power because a sharp rise in the country’s domestic consumption has led to natural gas shortages. This severely increased air pollution in Tehran and other megacities, increasing public anger toward the government.