Beijing investigates crypto mining farms to improve energy efficiency

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Digital currencies have made the headlines of late, but they are not the only thing in the news. Remember the big energy crisis that hit China back in 2016, which prompted the Chinese government to take a series of actions to improve the country’s energy efficiency? In addition to the power grids, the Beijing government has also turned its attention to another potentially big energy consumer: the farms that are used to mine cryptocurrencies. The government has ordered local authorities to conduct investigations and report back on their findings by the end of the month.

A few months ago, a photo of a mining farm in Sichuan was circulated on the Chinese internet. The photo showed 500 computers, each with a power supply that was bigger than the computers themselves, all crammed into a tiny room in a barebones facility with no ventilation. The photo went viral, not only because the image was spectacular, but because it highlighted the environmental toll that crypto mining can take.

Authorities in Beijing are reportedly conducting inspections of cryptocurrency data centers to better understand their impact on energy consumption, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Beijing’s municipal bureau of economy and information technology issued an emergency notice to data center operators in the city on Tuesday, asking them to report whether they are mining bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. The notice asked data centers to report the amount of energy consumed by mining cryptocurrency, the report said.

A spokesman for the agency said three of China’s largest telecommunications providers were among the recipients of the notification. He stated that he did not know the reasons for this initiative, nor whether it was part of a national campaign.

The news comes during a rebound in bitcoin hashrate, which fell sharply in mid-April due to massive power outages in China’s mining hub of Xinjiang. After stopping at 106 million TH/s on April 17, BTC’s hash rate resumed on April 28. April to 166 million TH/s.

The bitcoin hash rate for the past three months. Source: Ycharts

Beijing investigates crypto mining farms to improve energy efficiency

Energy consumption in cryptocurrency mining has increasingly attracted the attention of authorities in recent months. Yesterday, a former official said that cryptocurrency mining was one of the main causes of Kyrgyzstan’s energy crisis. In late February, authorities in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region proposed to shut down all cryptocurrency mining facilities by the end of April to reduce energy consumption.

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Emilia James
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