More than six months after the China National Development and Reform Commission proposed to categorize bitcoin mining as an industry to be phased out from the country, it appears the agency has now scrapped that plan.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a top-level economic planning agency under China's State Council, published a finalized new Catalog for Guiding Industry Restructuring on Wednesday that will take effect from Jan 1, 2020.
In the final version, which will replace the current one published in 2011, the agency has removed bitcoin mining or other virtual currency mining activities from the initially proposed category of industries that should be eliminated from China. Description related to virtual currency or bitcoin mining can't be found in the finalized catalog.
Formally established 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. The main role of the NDRC focuses on studying and penning economic reform strategies and policies to be executed at local level governments.
The NDRC first published its industry reform catalog in 2005, grouping industrial sectors into three types – those the agency advises the country to encourage, restrict or eliminate.
The initial draft of the latest catalog update was released in April this year, which classified "virtual currency mining, such as the production process of bitcoin" under the category to be eliminated, recommending local governments to phase out bitcoin mining from the country that's estimated to account for half of bitcoin's global hashing power.
The move was taken at the time by many, including major news outlets, as a signal that China was planning to ban bitcoin mining even though the policy itself does not automatically mean a bitcoin mining ban.
The revision of the draft plan comes after a months-long period of public consultation.
During a NDRC press conference on Wednesday, officials said since the release of the initial draft, the agency has received over 2,500 suggestions on various issues, most of which were taken into consideration, although the officials did not comment on any particular suggestion related to bitcoin mining.