China’s disdain for all things crypto continues to grow. In the latest example, authorities seized 600 computers and related hardware in Tianjin earlier this week, due to abnormally high electricity usage in the city, Xinhua reported. It turns out that the hardware had been used to set up a large cryptocurrency mining operation, which was uncovered by the local utility company. That company then informed the police, who launched an investigation.
During the investigation, five individuals were identified as “persons of interest,” but no other details were made available. An additional person was detained for his involvement. Whether any will be charged with criminal activity has not yet been announced.
According to the Chinese news outlet, this was the largest case of power theft recorded in a long time. However, there was doubt over whether the actions constituted theft, since it appeared the electricity was being purchased legally. The operations run afoul of Chinese laws, though, since authorities were not notified beforehand of the mining activities.
The move will certainly have Chinese miners looking for options outside of the country. China has been the home to the majority of the world’s cryptocurrency mining, but this could change soon. The Chinese government has taken a hard stance against cryptocurrency-related operations, already resulting in some companies shutting down completely and others leaving for other locations.
The recent crackdown indicates a reversal of policy. Many thought China would be loosening up on cryptocurrencies, but it would now seem to not be the case. The country’s central bank will also become stricter, tightening the screws on miners’ power usage in the country.
The result of the actions is an increase in mining operations in other countries. Iceland and Canada have gained favor recently due to the low electricity costs. This shift will more than likely continue, ultimately pushing all cryptocurrency businesses out of the country completely.
Last year, China banned trading between cryptocurrencies and the Chinese Yuan. The over-the-counter (OTC) trading had been gaining in popularity before being squashed by the People’s Bank of China. The country has also been targeting other trading platforms, and it would seem that crypto isn’t feeling the love anymore in China.
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