China plans to ban cryptocurrency mining, according to a draft list of industrial activities the country is seeking to stop in a sign of growing government pressure on the cryptocurrency sector.
The National Development Reform Commission, China's powerful economic planner, this week listed crypto-mining among a plethora of industries it intends to eliminate because they “seriously wasted resources” or polluted the environment. The agency is seeking public feedback on the guidelines and indicated that the crypto-mining ban could take effect as soon as they’re formally issued. The consultation period ends on May 7.
While China was once home to about 70 percent of Bitcoin mining and 90 percent of trades, authorities have waged a nearly two-year campaign to shrink the crypto industry amid concerns over speculative bubbles, fraud and wasteful energy consumption.
The cryptocurrency sector has been under heavy scrutiny in China since 2017, when regulators started to ban initial coin offerings and shut local cryptocurrency trading exchanges. Chinese officials outlined proposals in 2018 to discourage crypto mining. Beijing was said to have asked local agencies at the time to try and push miners out of business.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Nvidia are among listed chipmakers that supply crypto miners in China and around the world.
Last week, the price of bitcoin soared nearly 20 percent in its best day since the height of the 2017 bubble, and breaking $5,000 for the first time since mid-November.