China’s state planner wants to eliminate bitcoin mining in the country, according to a draft list of industrial activities the agency is seeking to stop in a sign of growing government pressure on the cryptocurrency sector.
China is the world’s largest market for computer hardware designed to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, even though such activities previously fell under a regulatory grey area.
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.
The draft for a revised list added cryptocurrency mining, including that of bitcoin, to more than 450 activities the NDRC said should be phased out as they did not adhere to relevant laws and regulations, were unsafe, wasted resources or polluted the environment.
It did not stipulate a target date or plan for how to eliminate bitcoin mining, meaning that such activities should be phased out immediately, the document said. The public has until May 7 to comment on the draft.
State-owned newspaper Securities Times said on Tuesday the draft list “distinctly reflects the attitude of the country’s industrial policy” toward the cryptocurrency industry.
“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 mining wastes a lot of electricity,” said one Chinese bitcoin trader who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.