Bitcoin miners in China lose access to cheap electricity
Bitcoin miners in China's Inner Mongolia will no longer be provided subsidized electricity to run their operations, according to Chinese news outlet Weixin.
Northern China’s naturally cool climate, access to a cheap, able workforce, and government policies like subsidized electricity have historically supported the growth of mining businesses in the region. Bigwigs like AntPool, which make hundreds of millions in revenue each year, are situated in the region and are part of a mining cohort that contributes to China’s massive 60% share of Bitcoin’s total hash rate. But that might be about to change.
“China's Inner Mongolia suddenly issued a policy on (August) 24th, requiring the cancellation of preferential electricity prices for crypto mining,” said Colin Wu, a reporter in China focused on mining and industry regulations.
Exclusive: China's Inner Mongolia suddenly issued a policy on the 24th, requiring the cancellation of preferential electricity prices for the crypto mining, which will increase the overall electricity price by about 1/3. Miners are worried about Xinjiang will follow. pic.twitter.com/d2J8xG0DIJ
— Colin Wu（WuBlockchain） (@WuBlockchain) August 25, 2020
The move was prompted after authorities raised concerns about mining firms that hold licenses to receive subsidized electricity. The main issue was an overall lack of incentive for the local government and non-existent benefit to the broader Mongolian regions for supporting mining businesses.
“[Mining] has nothing to do with the real economy,” said a notice last year, the report stated.
Wu added that the move will see an increase in electricity prices for miners by over 33%, with miners reportedly worried that Xinjiang—a nearby mountainous region in Northwest China—will similarly follow.
At least 21 mining businesses are affected, including some of the “largest players,” the report said. However, it added that “not all companies” operating in the region were affected, with no specific names disclosed.
Bitcoin mining—although attractive as a business with the lure of huge revenues—is a cutthroat venture with operators battling high setup costs and shaky government regulations to eke out profits.
And for mining hopefuls in Inner Mongolia, that narrative just got more difficult. An increase in electricity rates means a direct hit to profitability. But, for the rest of the world, the playing field is about to become much more even.
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