Shanghai Man: Crypto media closes, bad news just repeats, mining laws are beneficial?
With government officials trying to clean up the image of China prior to the start of the Winter Games, miners are leaving in droves and media group Bishijie has been forced to close down
This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.
It has now been two months since the crypto crackdown and subsequent enforcement began. Most new stories are now just the trickling down of earlier national policies being enforced at a provincial level. The latest example was from the Anhui provincial government, as it announced a set of measures to reduce energy consumption, with cryptocurrency mining listed among the culprits. Anhui is a small province east of Shanghai, more known for its scenic rural landscape and agriculture than its contributions to the economic development of China. It’s likely other provinces, particularly ones that rely on coal for energy, will have similar announcements over the summer as the central government pushes for a carbon-neutral future.
On July 13, Chinese mining pool giant Bit Mining announced it had raised $50 million for expansion outside of China. The company is listed on Nasdaq and operates BTC.com, which is currently a top 5 pool for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. This is another sign that Chinese mining companies aren’t giving up in light of the restrictions at home, instead choosing to relocate the data centers and mining machines abroad.
The disappearing industry left a trail of impressive photographs, including some published by Financial media Caixin. One image that grabbed the attention of social media depicted a woman who appeared to be an ethnic minority holding a bundle of mining equipment and power cables like a flower bouquet.
Going for gold?
Former Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu believes that the mining regulations will benefit the industry over the long-term, citing an improved public image and eradication of bad actors. It’s certainly a nice thought, but at the moment, China seems more intent on eliminating all actors, not just the bad ones.
With the upcoming Winter Olympics in February of 2022 looming, Beijing will have the perfect opportunity to show off clear blue skies and clean-energy industries. On top of that, China can showcase its state-of-the-art central bank digital currency, without the confusion stemming from more speculative digital assets that might appear to have similarities on the surface. Those with first hand memories of the 2008 Summer Olympics may also remember the strict regulation against technology and social unrest prior to that landmark event.
Lowest volumes in years
The impact is being felt by leading exchanges in China. Huobi’s BTC/USDT pair saw only 109K BTC transacted in the past week, the lowest weekly volume dating back to October of 2018. Global exchanges were also affected by slumping volumes, but not to the degree as these predominately Chinese exchanges. In today’s regulatory climate, there’s no doubt that exchanges proactive in decentralizing operations and risk are better poised to minimize damage from unfavorable policies.
Working together for compliance?
On July 13, the Nanjing Public Security Research Institute announced it was working with OKLink to combat money laundering. OKLink is a blockchain technology firm that has ties to OK Group, a company that used to manage leading exchange OKex. With exchange leadership under incredible scrutiny in 2021, there is no surprise in seeing attempts to placate regulators.
On July 15, cryptocurrency media company Bishijie announced it was shutting down after violating national laws against cryptocurrency. Bishije, which translates to Coin World, had enjoyed a lot of popularity in 2018, prior to the depths of the last bear market cycle. This recent bull cycle never saw it fully recover it’s previous position however, making this only a minor loss for the current cryptocurrency space. It remains to be seen whether other media platforms based in the mainland can survive this trying period of time.