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China’s Setting up a Hotline for Snitching on Cryptocurrency Miners

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(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s about to get even harder to mine cryptocurrency in China. The Financial Times reports that the Inner Mongolia Development and Reform Commission (IMDRC) plans to set up a hotline for reporting suspected mining operations.

The report arrived shortly after Reuters reported that China banned financial institutions from offering “clients any service involving cryptocurrency, such as registration, trading, clearing and settlement,” ostensibly to curb speculative trading.

But this isn’t the first time China has cracked down on the crypto market. Regulators attempted to assert more control over the market by banning initial coin offerings in 2017, for example, and in 2019 it considered a ban on the industry as a whole. 

Inner Mongolia also said in February that it was banning cryptocurrency mining in a bid to reduce its power consumption. That would actually be a win for the environment; a study published by Nature in April said that Bitcoin mining in China alone would exceed Venezuela's carbon emissions by 2024.

Still, it wasn’t clear before how it planned to suss out mining operations that defied the ban. Now it seems we have our answer: The Financial Times said the IMDRC wants the hotline to help it “comprehensively clean up and shut down” any mining operations that have remained within the province despite the ban.

These efforts seem like the cryptocurrency mining equivalent to McCarthyism: Inner Mongolia has effectively made it so anyone can accuse someone else of mining crypto. Depending on how severely mining will be punished, it’s not hard to imagine the resulting investigation being a terrifying experience for the accused.

China’s latest crackdown on cryptocurrencies has reduced prices for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular coins. While that might dissuade mining in the country for a while, it’s still a highly lucrative endeavor. It won’t be surprising if mining operations continue despite the risk of being snitched on by their neighbors.

  • InvalidError
    There is a simple way of tracking down significant scale crypto-miners: investigate power bill history. If houses in the neighborhood average 400kWh/month even with two EVs and one house in the lot is pushing 4MWh/month, there is a very high probability the resident is mining or doing something highly unusual that warrants investigation.
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    snitches get stitches as they say.
    Reply
  • zhiyeliu
    Makaveli said:
    snitches get stitches as they say.
    :tearsofjoy:
    Reply
  • King_V
    Makaveli said:
    snitches get stitches as they say.
    "They" being criminals.
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    King_V said:
    "They" being criminals.
    Actually I know alot of people that don't have criminal records that say it. So no its just not criminals.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    sadly, it wont be the owners of the big time operations who end up in gulags over there, its going to be the little guy.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    China Government: We accuse you of mining 0.00001337 bitcoin.

    Accused: I swear I was only running a Microsoft Help Hotline. Here are all of the transcripts of the last 30 days.

    China Government: Carry on.
    Reply
  • exploding_psu
    InvalidError said:
    There is a simple way of tracking down significant scale crypto-miners: investigate power bill history. If houses in the neighborhood average 400kWh/month even with two EVs and one house in the lot is pushing 4MWh/month, there is a very high probability the resident is mining or doing something highly unusual that warrants investigation.

    Either that, or someone in the neighborhood has just upgraded to a Vega 56 with that power spike
    Reply
  • Truckinupga
    The final nails are being put into crypto's coffin, all across the board stock's are getting even more volatile. I've also seen some minor price drop's in the few available graphic cards. Start keeping an eye on ebay and places like it for an increase in used cards, some of the smart ones will be reading the tea leaves while they can still get a decent return on their cards.
    Reply
  • wr3zzz
    Inner Mongolia got flagged by China's central government as a excessive carbon emitter. The province attracts lots of miners because it has rich coal deposits to feed its many power plants but crypto consume massive amount of electricity without adding anything back to the real economy.
    Reply