China’s crypto miners look to duck govt crackdown; Focus shifts to US, Europe

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
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After the Chinese government stepped up its efforts to crack down on bitcoin mining and trading, cryptocurrency mining operators like Huobi Mall and BTC.TOP are suspending their China operations.

A State Council committee led by Vice Premier Liu He announced the crackdown on 21st May marking the first time the council has targeted virtual currency mining, a big business in China that accounts for as much as 70 percent of the world’s crypto supply, and sent the digital currency tumbling down.

Heightened scrutiny

Crypto miners use increasingly powerful, specially-designed computer equipment, or rigs, to verify virtual coin transactions in a process which produces newly minted crypto currencies such as bitcoin.

Bitcoin took a hammering after the latest Chinese move, and is now down nearly 50 percent from it’s all-time high. It shed as much as 17 percent on 23rd May, before paring some losses and trading steadily in Asia.

Investor protection and prevention of money laundering are particular concerns of governments and financial regulators who are struggling with whether and how they should regulate the cryptocurrency industry. US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell turned up the scrutiny on cryptocurrencies recently. Last week, Mr. Powell said they pose risks to financial stability, indicating that greater regulation of the increasingly popular electronic currency may be warranted.

Moving away from China

Huobi Mall, part of cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, said in a statement that all of its custody businesses have been suspended. “Meanwhile, we’re contacting overseas service providers, to pave the way for exports of mining rigs in the future.” They asked clients “not to worry and calm down.”

BTC.TOP, a crypto mining pool, also announced the suspension of its China business citing regulatory risks. Founder Jiang Zhuoer said in a micro blog post that in the future, BTC.TOP will mainly conduct crypto mining business in North America. “In the long term, nearly all of Chinese crypto mining rigs will be sold overseas, as Chinese regulators crack down on mining at home,” he said.

China has already lost its position as a global cryptocurrency trading center after Beijing banned crypto exchanges in 2017. “Eventually, China will lose crypto computing power to foreign markets as well,” Mr. Jiang said, predicting the rise of US and European mining pools.

Comply with regulations

HashCow, another crypto miner which owns 10 mining sites in Chinese provinces including Xinjiang and Sichuan, and sells computing power to investors, said it will fully comply with government regulations. In a statement to clients, HashCow said it will suspend buying new bitcoin rigs, and promised full refund to those investors who had placed orders for computing powers but had not yet started mining.

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