China has since placed a blanket ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs), bitcoin, and the altcoins but the autocratic government is yet to impose an embargo on Bitcoin mining. Now, the local police force has arrested some miners and seized their machines as well as mining equipment, citing power theft.
Illegal Mining Activity
Per Chinese news outlet Xinhua, the police in the Chinese city of Tianjin have impounded 600 computers and other cryptocurrency mining equipment after the local electricity operator noticed abnormal power usage in the area. They promptly informed the authorities who then launched investigations and eventually discovered the unauthorized crypto culprits.
The security operatives have touted this latest case of power theft as the most significant in recent times. The illegal miners allegedly tampered with the electricity meter, in a bid to avoid being billed for power usage.
According to Xinhua, the electricity consumption cost of those 600 computers is estimated at “hundreds of thousands of yuan.” Five suspects are being investigated, with one person in detention already.
Increased Oversight on Bitcoin Mining
China used to be the bitcoin capital of the world until late 2017, when the nation suddenly got cured of its crypto fever, placing an embargo on ICOs and blockchain-based virtual currencies. Since then, the Asian country has declared war on all things digital currencies.
Surprisingly though, the Asian government seem to have turned a blind eye to mining operations in the region until January 5, 2018, when BTCManager reported that China was looking to pay close attention to the energy consumption of cryptocurrency miners in its territory.
In recent times there have also been rumors hinting towards an outright ban on mining in China.
Of a truth, bitcoin mining operations do require a substantial amount of electricity to function correctly. However, some experts hinted in January 2018 that the nation wasn’t bothered with this particular aspect of the activity. Others speculated that the government body was merely trying to formulate a strong enough reason to ban bitcoin mining in the region.
Following the announcement by the authorities to reduce power supply to cryptocurrency miners, many firms began making concrete plans to shift their base to more crypto-friendly nations.
Notably, the world’s largest bitcoin mining firm Bitmain, hastened preparations to move its regional headquarters to Singapore, while beefing up its mining operations in the U.S and Canada. Also, the third largest Bitcoin mining firm at the time, the mining pool BTC.Top told Bloomberg it was launching a facility in Canada.
“We chose Canada because of the relatively cheap cost, and the stability of the country and policies,” said the founder of BTC.Top, Jiang Zhuoer, in January 2018.
At current, Bitmain is not relenting in its efforts to maintain its lead in the bitcoin mining industry. On March 13, 2018, BTCManager reported that the firm had formed a formidable alliance with a US-based firm called Ant Creek and the mining behemoth could launch a mega-mining facility in the region shortly.
With 17 million BTC already mined out of the total 21 million, the mining difficulty of the world’s flagship cryptocurrency will keep increasing. Firm’s like Bitmain are not oblivious to this fact and would, therefore, continue establishing colossal mining sites to remain more competitive.