Night view of the haihe river in Tianjin, China

China’s Tianjin province hikes electricity rates to root out miners

Yet another Chinese province is hiking its electricity rates specifically for block reward miners as the country struggles to root out the industry. This time it’s Tianjin, and just like all the others, it reiterated that the hike is a punishment to the miners and not an endorsement of the activity.

In its announcement this week, the Tianjin Municipal Development and Reform Commission revealed it will raise the electricity rates by 0.5 yuan ($0.07) per kilowatt-hour, but only for the block reward miners. The commission will further send a list of miners to grid operators to enforce the new rates.

The move adds to the confusion that has characterized the BTC mining industry in China for the past few years. President Xi Jinping’s government has declared mining illegal and booted out thousands of miners from the country in a crackdown that started 2021.

However, despite being illegal, local governments choose to hike power rates rather than crack down on these miners. And as the Tianjin announcement reveals, these local governments clearly know who the miners are and their locations—which is the only way they can enforce the higher power rates. So far, eight provinces have announced higher rates for miners.

Some have interpreted this as a softening of China’s stance against block reward mining. However, while announcing its own rate hikes earlier this year, the eastern province of Zhejiang clarified that the hikes were a punishment to miners, not an endorsement or legal recognition of their activities.

It’s unclear which way BTC mining in China is heading. Immediately following Jinping’s crackdown, mining activities dipped drastically, and China dropped down the list of BTC hash rate hubs. However, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, the Asian country shot back up this year to reclaim second place, ranking only behind the U.S.

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