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Clampdown On Crypto Mining Cuts China's GPU Prices Nearly 45 Percent

Mining Farm
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

China's non-stop effort to crack down on cryptocurrency mining farms has started to pay dividends. As the South China Morning Post reported today, graphics card pricing in the country has decreased substantially over the past few weeks. Following up on the South China Morning Post's tip, we've analyzed the historic pricing for various Ampere graphics cards. You can see the pricing trends in our breakdown below, but the clear takeaway is that pricing has receded as much as 45% since Beijing began pulling the plug on big mining farms around the country.

Besides being some of the best graphics cards for gaming, Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series (Ampere) cards are also very popular for cryptocurrency mining. It's impossible for us to look at pricing for every single Ampere model, so we randomly picked custom models from each tier to get a general idea of pricing behavior.

The price war is intense, so there's considerable pricing variation for the same graphics card model at different retailers. However, graphics card makers typically have their own online stores at major online retailers, such as Tmall, which is one of the biggest in China. We pulled the pricing from the official stores via Manmanbuy, a popular price tracker in China.

We observed a reduction in pricing up to 45% on some of Nvidia's latest graphics cards, such as the GeForce RTX 3060 — this mid-range Ampere card was one of the more popular models among mining farms in China. The higher-up models exhibited a smaller price reduction, though.

Graphics Card Pricing in China

Graphics CardMay PricingCurrent PricingReduction
MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Gaming X Trio$2,273$2,1655%
MSI GeForce RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio$1,624$1,23724%
Asus TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 OC Edition$1,531$83545%
Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra OC$1,121$71133%

China was a haven for cryptocurrency operations thanks to the country's cheap electricity rates. According to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index dating back to April 2020, China accounted for around 65% of the global Bitcoin mining hashrate prior to the cryptocurrency mining crackdown. Xinjiang, Sichuan, and Inner Mongolia were the three most popular provinces where cryptocurrency miners preferred to set up shop, but many of those operations have been forced to shut down over the last several days

The Chinese government already banned cryptocurrency mining in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, so Sichuan was the last province to join the list. Mining farms obviously posed a huge threat to China's strong aspirations to achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Many miners thought Sichuan would be exempt from the ban since the province uses hydropower instead of coal. However, the province didn't receive any special treatment, either. In fact, the government has instructed electricity providers to evaluate their biggest clients' power consumption to report any abnormalities by June 25.

In addition to the Chinese market, graphics card pricing has also plummeted in Europe. While the price drops are a step in the right direction, we don't expect pricing to stabilize in the near future. Let's not forget that we're still going through a global semiconductor shortage, and it doesn't impact just graphics cards.

  • Dantte
    GOOD, maybe I'll actually be able to find one in stock now and not at 2X (plus) MSRP!
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    Dantte said:
    GOOD, maybe I'll actually be able to find one in stock now and not at 2X (plus) MSRP!

    Only if you are buying in china, I don't see this affecting North America until the same is done here.
    Reply
  • Dantte
    Makaveli said:
    Only if you are buying in china, I don't see this affecting North America until the same is done here.
    Maybe, but it is a world economy. Lower demand in China could mean higher supply in NA and/or EU which would raise availability and drive down prices to a more normal level.
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    Dantte said:
    Maybe, but it is a world economy. Lower demand in China could mean higher supply in NA and/or EU which would raise availability and drive down prices to a more normal level.

    That's a big "maybe" I wouldn't bet the farm on that one.
    Reply
  • plateLunch
    What will really tank card prices is if the miners in China decide to dump all their now useless graphics cards and get real jobs. They could drive prices down below MSRP on eBay easy. Should be fun after years of waiting to get a card at a reasonable price.
    Reply
  • excalibur1814
    What next? Stop the 0 or less than 10 feedback bidders from raising card prices on eBay.
    Reply
  • RTX 2080
    Makaveli said:
    That's a big "maybe" I wouldn't bet the farm on that one.

    Don't forget that a few months ago when Chia was getting going prices of high-capacity hard drives rose in China first and then spread everywhere else. An apples to oranges comparison for sure, but it makes the point that what happens in China from a hardware perspective has a way of spreading to the rest of the world.
    Reply
  • RTX 2080
    plateLunch said:
    What will really tank card prices is if the miners in China decide to dump all their now useless graphics cards and get real jobs. They could drive prices down below MSRP on eBay easy. Should be fun after years of waiting to get a card at a reasonable price.

    Yeah, the market forces driving prices up for GPUs have been high demand and low supply. With lower demand (no more crypto-mining in China), and higher supply (all the GPUs the miners would have bought + all their old GPUs now hitting the used market), there is a good chance we'll start seeing lower prices across the board as the market slowly corrects itself.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    Dantte said:
    GOOD, maybe I'll actually be able to find one in stock now and not at 2X (plus) MSRP!
    Actually, you should not expect anything less than 1.5x MSRP now with the AIB partner's price increase due to "component shortage". Nvidia's launch day MSRP is unlikely to happen. For example, ff they are going to have to sell you RTX 3080 for USD 699, they would rather sell the RTX 3080 Ti which they can sell for USD 1199, which means you may not find a RTX 3080.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    plateLunch said:
    What will really tank card prices is if the miners in China decide to dump all their now useless graphics cards and get real jobs. They could drive prices down below MSRP on eBay easy. Should be fun after years of waiting to get a card at a reasonable price.
    I think this is where you are mistaken. The bulk of the graphic cards are soaked up by people that can afford to run massive crypto mining farms. In other words, they are well to do in the first place. The small time miners affects GPU supply, but their contribution to the problem is just the tip of the iceberg. In this case, it is the closure of these massive mining operations that made a huge impact to the supply. But as to how long this will last, it is hard to tell. While they cannot mine in China, it does not stop them moving to other countries to continue their mining activities. There is a lag time before they relocate. Big mining operations have the economies of scale to continue mining even if the prices are low, and with current Ether prices and lower difficulties, it is even more attractive for them to continue.
    Reply