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China’s Cryptocurrency-Mining Crackdown Spreads to Sichuan | Technology News

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By Samuel Shen and Alun John

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency “mining” has extended to the southwest province of Sichuan, where authorities ordered cryptocurrency mining projects closed in the major mining centre.

Cryptomining is big business in China, accounting for more than half of global bitcoin production. But the State Council, China’s cabinet, last month vowed to clamp down on bitcoin mining and trading as part of a series of measures to control financial risks.

Other popular mining regions, such as Inner Mongolia, have cited cryptocurrency mining’s use of electricity generated from highly polluting sources such as coal in orders targeting the industry.

The Sichuan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, and the Sichuan Energy Bureau issued a joint notice, dated Friday and seen by Reuters, demanding the closure of 26 suspected cryptocurrency mining projects by Sunday.

Sichuan is China’s second-biggest bitcoin mining province, according to data compiled by the University of Cambridge. Some miners move their activities there in the rainy summer to take advantage of its rich hydropower resources.

The authorities urged local governments in Sichuan to start combing for cryptomining projects and shut them down. It banned new projects.

Other regional mining centres including Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Yunnan have ordered crackdowns on bitcoin mining.

Friday’s notice appears to indicate that Beijing’s displeasure with cryptocurrency mining extends beyond cases where it uses electricity generated by burning coal.

“Renewable power does not help,” said Winston Ma, NYU Law School adjunct professor and author of the book “the Digital War”.

Some miners have been considering moving elsewhere due to the crackdown.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen in Shanghai and Alun John in Hong Kong; Editing by William Mallard)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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