The recurring “China Bans Bitcoin” story that we have all been familiar with over the years seems to have become more important recently.
Cryptocurrency of the week
China’s mining ban has come into effect.
The key reason for the long-standing bearish narrative of Bitcoin skeptics and the reluctance of many conservative investors to access cryptocurrencies is the dominance of the People’s Republic of China in the cryptocurrency market, especially the proof-of-work mining industry. In the first decade of Bitcoin’s existence, this concern was justified because most of the hash rate was concentrated in China’s two main provinces. The energy structure used for power generation is Xinjiang, which is dominated by coal, and Sichuan, which is dominated by hydropower. Over the years, Chinese miners have moved between the two provinces in the summer rainy season, constantly seeking the cheapest electricity costs, and even with the encouragement of the Chinese government, a demonstration zone for hydropower consumption industry was established in Sichuan in 2019. These special “demonstration zones” provide cheap surplus power to many energy-intensive industries at discounted prices, and solve the problem of oversupply of power production during the rainy season in Sichuan in summer. The CCP estimates that a staggering 14.2 billion kilowatt-hours will be wasted in 2016, enough to power about 1.3 million American homes. At first glance, these positive measures seem to be a positive step towards China’s acceptance of Bitcoin mining, and at the same time solve the problem of energy waste when the dam is fully loaded. The incentive plan has also significantly strengthened the global renewable energy portfolio of the Bitcoin network, which has been the focus of mainstream media, politicians and institutional investors in recent months.
In addition to the recent ESG concerns, a major concern for investors and China is that since the mining industry is concentrated in one country, the risk is that Chinese miners may coordinate 51% attacks on the network under the direction of the CCP. This is a long-standing risk and attack vector, although as the network matures and decentralizes, the probability of success is low.
Although China is in the leading position in the global hash rate, with the instructions of the most senior CCP official and the Vice Premier of the State Council so far, the recurring “China bans Bitcoin” story that we have been familiar with for many years seems to have become more important. important. Liu He of the Communist Party of China.
The second is to resolutely prevent and control financial risks… Strengthen the supervision of the financial activities of platform companies, severely crack down on Bitcoin mining and trading activities, and resolutely prevent the transmission of personal risks to the social field — Vice Premier of the Communist Party of China Liu He
It is always challenging to explain how these signals will affect the market in China, but now about a month later, it is clear that China’s Bitcoin mining industry is being permanently eliminated. ASIC miners are shutting down and seeking to move out of China, which is reflected in the steady decline in the hash rate of the entire network since Liu He issued a statement in May. Furthermore, after He Jiankui’s statement, last Friday, the Sichuan Provincial Energy Bureau and the Sichuan Provincial Development and Reform Commission ordered the complete closure of all mining facilities previously encouraged to enter the demonstration zone. This is a painful U-turn by the Chinese government. The Chinese authorities and their remaining confidence in the deployment of capital by Bitcoin mining investors in China have caused a permanent blow.
The order also targets the gray market for Bitcoin miners, where many unofficial mines operate outside of the so-called demonstration zone controlled by the government, instead signing bilateral agreements with private energy producers. The state has ordered an inspection of this part of the market, and if found, the miners found to be operating will be shut down.
The news of last month has caused huge selling pressure on speculators and Chinese miners, and according to on-chain indicators, they appear to be liquidating their holdings in Chinese exchanges. Most of the content of this news story should have been priced, but, like many complex developments in China, as miners shut down and migrate to more reliable and advantageous jurisdictions, it may trigger in the coming months Some unexpected consequences. Follow this space.
This is a critical moment in the history of Bitcoin mining. In the next 6 months or more, new mining locations will be found globally, and potential crypto-advanced jurisdictions will compete with Bitcoin. Related technologies, jobs and peripheral industries. An industry of 1.5-20 billion US dollars (revenue) per year.
Bitmain is the largest mining hardware manufacturer. It quickly took a proactive approach to shape this new reality for Chinese miners. It held a meeting last week to discuss in part that many of Bitmain’s Chinese customers can now use their manufactured products. The choice of ASIC.
What is impressive is that Bitmain has found and secured potential locations for the company to relocate, and protect its customers and Bitmain’s bottom line in the process. The sample slides from the conference above show the energy prices of multiple states in the United States, where miners can theoretically rebuild themselves and secure orders from Bitmain. They even arranged video links with well-known investor and commentator Kevin O’Leary and Texas Governor Gregg Abbot. They both promoted the United States, especially in Abbot’s case, Texas is reliable and safe. And friendly locations, long-term business can be established far away from the United States. China.
This earth-shaking change in the global hash rate distribution may alleviate the concentration concerns of the mining industry, and is expected to eventually form a more decentralized, strong and secure network. Perhaps regulators’ concerns about market manipulation will ease, thus increasing the likelihood that the long-awaited US-listed ETF will be approved. In all respects, in the medium and long term, China’s actual ban on mining is positive for the entire industry, not just Bitcoin.
In addition to China’s centralization, there is still a long way to go to alleviate all the problems related to proof-of-work mining. It will be very interesting to track how Ethereum migrated to proof-of-stake and how the market explained the second largest cryptocurrency’s shift from capital assets to generating income from productive assets. Bitcoin is unlikely to follow Ethereum to migrate to a much less energy-intensive proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, but it is worth noting that although the proof-of-stake Eth2 Beacon Chain has not yet merged with the Ethereum mainnet, there are already nearly 5.5 million ETH is bet. Impressively, this is worth about $11.5 billion or about 4.5% of the total supply. Obviously, for cryptocurrency holders, the demand for income is very attractive, which can be proved by the increase in the total value of DeFi lock and the increase in the percentage of the amount of ETH pledged. The term “productive assets” is strong. As this year progresses, the competition and differences between proof of work/bitcoin and proof of equity/ethereum will become more and more tense. More next week.