According to a draft list of industrial activities, the Chinese State Planner is seeking to stop in a sign of growing government pressure on the cryptocurrency sector, the agency wants to eliminate bitcoin mining in the country.
China is the world’s largest market for computer hardware designed to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, even though such activities weren’t exactly legal.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Monday it was seeking public opinions on a revised list of industries it wants to encourage, restrict or eliminate. The list was first published in 2011.
It did not stipulate a target date or plan for how to eliminate bitcoin mining, but the public has until May 7 to comment on the draft.
“The NDRC’s move is in line overall with China’s desire to control different layers of the rapidly growing crypto industry, and does not yet signal a major shift in policy,” said Jehan Chu, Managing Partner at Blockchain Investment firm Kenetic. “I believe China simply wants to ‘reboot’ the crypto industry into one that they have oversight on, the same approach they took with the Internet.”
Other bitcoin traders said they were not surprised by the government’s move.
Bitcoin, which accounts for around half of the cryptocurrency market, was down by around 1.4% on Tuesday, while other major coins such as Ethereum and Ripple’s XRP also fell by similar amounts following this news.
The cryptocurrency sector has been under heavy scrutiny in China since 2017 since regulators started to ban ICOs and shut local cryptocurrency trading exchanges. “Half of the network is probably located in China,” said Alex de Vries, a consultant with PwC in Amsterdam who specializes on blockchain and researches cryptocurrency mining. He added that the number of mining facilities in the world is still limited to a few hundred. So the impact of eliminating Bitcoin mining in one of the largest markets could be widespread.