A Chinese logistics firm is airlifting 3 metric tons (3.3 tons) of bitcoin mining machines to Maryland as the Chinese government cracks down on the industry.
Photos appearing to show the equipment packed up and ready to be airlifted were shared on Twitter Monday by CNBC's senior correspondent in Beijing, Eunice Yoon. Guangzhou-based Fenghua International told CNBC it is airlifting 3,000 kg (6,600 lbs) of machines to Maryland.
This weight of mining machines "would be about 200 units of S19," Thomas Heller, chief business officer at Compass Mining, told CoinDesk. An Antminer S19 Pro weighs about 15.2 kg.
The CNBC photos fit into an emerging narrative of bitcoin's exodus from China but the Fenghua shipment represents a very small load, Heller said. The recent crackdown on bitcoin mining involves partial bans on the industry in multiple provinces.
He said that "3,000 kg sounds huge, but compared to the amount of miners that get shipped regularly it's just a small batch."
So for how much does the Fenghua shipment account?
With a hashrate of about 95 terahashes per second, 200 of the machines equate to 19,000 TH/s.
Citing blockchain data, Heller estimates that 50 exahash per second of mining capacity in China has been turned off recently, or the equivalent of 526,000 S19 machines. One EH is equal to 1 million TH.
That gives about 80,000 metric tons of machinery potentially sitting idle.
"That is if it was just S19s. But there are also countless S9s and old-gen units, so the total kg amount would be much higher," Heller said.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.