25 Oct 2021 · 2 min read

No, ‘Un-banning’ Bitcoin Mining Is Not on Beijing’s Agenda

Source: Adobe/evannovostro

Bitcoin (BTC)  mining-related developments in China have caused confusion among international observers, but it appears Beijing will not be deterred from its crackdown on tokens and mining.

The Three Arrows Capital Co-founder Zhu Su expressed surprise at the fact that the National Development and Reform Commission (formerly the State Planning Commission) was “seeking public solicitation of comments regarding un-banning crypto mining.”

Zhu shared a link from the commission, which called for a public consultation period beginning last week and running until November 21. “Relevant organizations and people from all walks of life” were invited to “provide feedback” through its website or by post.

However, the chances of a reversal in policy at this stage seem slim to none, particularly as the same commission only last week was looking to place crypto mining on its list of banned industries.

Instead, the consultation process appears to be part of a rubber-stamping of the ban.

The China-focused journalist Colin Wu concurred, writing that the measure was not an “un-banning” event, and that “on the contrary, its content is to write crypto mining into an industry that must be eliminated, which means that this industry is clearly defined as an industry that China resolutely excludes.”

Sally Wang of Sino Capital was in agreement, opining that “this is [a] normal part of the regulatory process and doesn’t represent [a] change of minds [from] policymakers.”

However, as the wider crypto mining crackdown continues, and government-issued documents on the matter become more voluminous, some more unusual vocabulary is being used to describe the industry. For instance, the aforementioned government organ has sparked mirth among observers by apparently labeling crypto mining as an industry blighted by “outdated technology.”

Per the state-run Economic Daily (via the Guangming Daily), the commission made reference to the “outdated production technology and equipment” used by miners in its draft documentation, which has led to amused responses from China’s “netizen” community.

But the media outlet noted that there may well be plenty of “truth” to this assertion. It claimed, in the spirit of the commission’s document, that token miners hid behind a veneer of high-tech language (with most mining farms claiming to be “Big Data centers”) and bandying around terms like “cloud computing” and “blockchain.”

In fact, the media outlet noted citing netizen opinion for support, the model of Bitcoin and other proof-of-work cryptoassets such as Ethereum (ETH) mining was “high in energy consumption, highly polluting, very harmful and low in output.” These four criteria, it added, meant mining perfectly fit the state definition of “outdated technology.”

The author concluded with a call to arms, writing:

“Mining is not a high-tech industry. It is a type of backward production technology that competes [with legitimate industries] for precious power, wastes a huge amount of resources and conceals a number of hidden dangers. We must ensure it is kept under strict maintenance.”

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Learn more: 
- A Closer Look at the Environmental Impact of Bitcoin Mining
- Chinese Provinces Still Cracking Down on Bitcoin, Altcoin Miners

- US Becomes Largest Bitcoin Mining Hub After China's Miner Exodus
- Abkhazia to Build New Crypto Mining Technopark – and a Power Station to Fuel it