BTC.com exits China in the face of increased clampdowns
China’s move to crush Bitcoin mining and trading is finally yielding some positive results as large mining firms are starting to exit the region in droves. One of the world’s largest crypto mining pools, BTC.com, has opted to leave China after authorities withdrew its power supply.
Early this week, BTC.com, the world’s 5th-largest mining pool owned by the NYSE-listed Chinese lottery service provider 500.com, announced that it had relocated the first batch of its mining machines to Kazakhstan.
The relocation follows a notification by the state grid in western Sichuan province that it was cutting the power supply to one of the pool’s local data centers. BIT Mining stated in an official release that:
On June 19, 2021, the Company’s indirectly held subsidiary, Ganzi Changhe Hydropower Consumption Service Co. Ltd [...] received notice [...] from State Grid Sichuan Ganzi Electric Power Co., Ltd. [...] informing Ganzi Changhe Data Center, that its power supply would be suspended, effective 9:00 pm Beijing time, June 19, 2021. Ganzi Changhe Data Center has since suspended its operations. Data centers in Sichuan, including the Ganzi Changhe Data Center, contributed approximately 3% of the Company’s total revenues in the month of May 2021.
The move to halt electricity supply to mining facilities is part of China’s ongoing crackdown on crypto mining arguably due to growing concerns over the sector’s high carbon footprint.
Speaking of carbon footprint, the CEO of BIT Mining Xianfeng Yang appears to have gestured towards this backdrop. According to him:
[His company is] committed to protecting the environment and lowering our carbon footprint. We have been strategically expanding our operations overseas as part of our growth strategy. Following our investments in cryptocurrency mining data centers in Texas and Kazakhstan, we are accelerating our overseas development for alternative high-quality mining resources.
Provinces such as Inner Mongolia, which were once hotspots for Bitcoin miners, have already established dedicated hotlines for the public to directly report any suspected illegal mining activities. In the heat of clampdown, at least three mining firms, including BTC.TOP, HashCow, and Huobi have been forced to suspend their activities on the mainland.
In addition to Inner Mongolia, several other provinces have moved to stop crypto mining activities. Earlier this month, officials at the Xinjiang province ordered miners at the 15,500 square km Zhundong Economic-Technological Development Park to cease operations with immediate effect.