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China Ban on Bitcoin Mining Fails Epically According to New Data

By:
Bob Mason
Updated: May 17, 2022, 15:08 GMT+00:00

Bitcoin mining is back in the news this week, with new data showing China as the second largest bitcoin mining nation, despite an outright ban.

China and Bitcoin mining ban.

Key Insights:

  • In 2021, China imposed an outright ban on bitcoin (BTC) mining, leading to a material shift in the mining landscape.
  • The ban pushed the US into the forefront of crypto mining, which led to a sharp increase in lawmaker scrutiny.
  • Today’s data, however, reveals a China bounce back in bitcoin mining despite an ongoing ban.

In July of last year, the Chinese government banned Bitcoin (BTC) mining. Aside from Beijing’s position on cryptos in general, the ban supported China’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance released data in August, showing China’s bitcoin mining hashrate at zero.

Since the ban, however, there have been plenty of reports of illegal mining activity in the country and government efforts to clamp down on mining.

In March, we reported on Beijing calling on provinces to crack down on mining activity, with seizures highlighting underground mining activity rife across the country.

China Bounces Back to Become Second Largest Bitcoin Mining Nation

Today, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance released new crypto mining data that may alarm the Chinese government.

According to the latest numbers, the US remained the largest bitcoin mining nation, based on January 2022 figures. The US bitcoin mining hashrate stood at 37.84%.

China, however, saw its hashrate jump from 0% (Aug-2021) to 21.11%, ranking it the second largest bitcoin mining nation.

Efforts to clamp down on illegal bitcoin mining appear to have failed. More significantly, the recent surge in fuel prices may have forced miners to return home in search of cheaper energy prices.

Following the efforts to clamp down on illegal mining, Beijing is unlikely to stay quiet for long. Moving to other geographies, including the US, may also prove more challenging than last summer.

Before China’s ban, the US had a bitcoin mining hash rate of below 20% before jumping to 35.4% as of August 2021.

This time around, the return of bitcoin miners to China has had a muted impact on the US.

The latest figures come as proof-of-work mining draws more scrutiny from US lawmakers.

The US Remains the Largest Bitcoin Miner Despite Lawmaker Scrutiny

In January, lawmakers targeted proof-of-work and bitcoin mining, in particular. Democrats took an anti-bitcoin stance to support US President Joe Biden’s environmental goals.

After re-joining the Paris Agreement, the US has a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Attitudes vary across the country, however, with some states being more crypto-friendly than others.

As of December 2021, Georgia was the largest mining state, with a hashrate of 30.76%.

Other notables included Texas (11.22%), Kentucky (10.93%), and New York (9.77%).

Last month, New York lawmakers made the news, with a new bill aiming to push bitcoin miners into renewable energy. The bill blocks new crypto mining companies from non-renewable energy crypto mining.

Such is the clamor over carbon-sourced bitcoin mining that US lawmakers even called on the Environmental Protection Agency to target firms infringing on environmental laws.

While US lawmakers target bitcoin mining in the corridors of Capitol Hill, Beijing is unlikely to be so subtle.

About the Author

Bob Masonauthor

With over 20 years of experience in the finance industry, Bob has been managing regional teams across Europe and Asia and focusing on analytics across both corporate and financial institutions. Currently he is covering developments relating to the financial markets, including currencies, commodities, alternative asset classes, and global equities.

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