Almost 500 people have died and more than 24,000 are sick because of the coronavirus. International travel is being curtailed, cruise ships are being quarantined and entire cities are becoming ghost towns. While many may not believe a physical virus could infect the digital realm, the coronavirus has. Because China is taking strict precautions with who can travel and where, and has shut down many operations in the country, cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturers are having a difficult time with production and distribution, which means end users are ultimately going to have to pay more, at least for the next couple of months.
In speaking with 8btc, the sales director for China-based crypto equipment manufacturer Canaan, Chen Feng, explains that the coronavirus has impacted operations on three different fronts. It has made held supplies dwindle, production has taken a hit due to obligatory absenteeism and a lack of domestic distribution for parts, and deliveries are taking longer than normal because many of the inexpensive logistics companies have suspended operations. All of these are going to force the prices to increase.
Mining farm operations are suffering, as well. With travel severely restricted in and out of Xinjiang, home to many mining companies, getting parts and employees on schedule is virtually impossible. Currently, anyone arriving in the city has to be placed in isolation for 20 days. According to BTC.Top founder Jiang Zhuo’er, “We left half of the staff on duty before the Lunar New Year holiday, with strict controls we are now shorthanded.”
If a mining rig breaks, getting replacement parts is about as easy as getting parts delivered to a deserted island. Fortunately, for the most part, power and equipment are running stable, which will reduce the necessity of having to source parts and new devices. However, if the quarantines and isolations are forced to continue for any substantial length of time, this could change.
As things look now, many Chinese factories are shut down and won’t be able to restart their operations until around February 15. China has worked overtime to prevent further outbreaks, even building two new hospitals recently to help the efforts. All the measures taken in the country, and elsewhere, should go a long way to keeping the virus from spreading and allow business to continue as usual.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.