China’s Economic Planning Body Labels Bitcoin Mining an ‘Undesirable’ Industry

Wolfie Zhao
Apr 9, 2019 at 06:00 UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2019 at 12:13 UTC
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A Chinese central government agency in charge of formulating macroeconomic policies is labeling bitcoin mining as an “undesirable” industry in a draft proposal, recommending local governments to eliminate the sector in the country.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published a draft proposal on Monday for revising the existing Catalog for Guiding Industry Restructuring, which listsĀ out industry activities that the agency suggests to encourage, restrict and discontinue.

The to-be-revised catalog, while still pending public feedback before taking into effect, categorizes bitcoin mining as an industrial sector that is undesirable and thus should be discontinued in the country’s future development, together with a list of other sectors that either has low and obsolete productivity or result in heavy pollution.

Formally launched in 1998, the NDRC is now one of the 26 cabinet-level departments which all together form the State Council of the Chinese central government, with the main role focusing on studying and penning economic reform strategies and policies.

The agency published the first Catalogue for Guiding Industry Restructuring in 2005 to inform local governments on what types of sectors are encouraged, and what are not, for future development. The Catalogue was later revised and updated in 2011, 2013, and 2016, respectively, and is undergoing another revision.

The public will have until May 7 to share feedback on proposed amendments, after which the final version will be published and become effective.

However, it remains to be seen whether the revised guide, if still including such categorization of bitcoin mining in its final form, will have any impact on bitcoin mining in China, since the catalog itself serves as a general direction for future development.

Currently, China is still home to some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining equipment makers as well as mining farm operations. During the coming water-abundant summer season, over 1 million cryptocurrency mining machines are estimated to be running in China’s southwestern region.

Chinese flag image via Shutterstock

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