China, which is among the biggest manufacturers of bitcoin mining gear, has decided not to follow through on a government proposal that it eliminate mining of the cryptocurrency, the state planner has indicated.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in April sought public opinion on a revised list of industries it wanted to encourage, restrict or eliminate. Bitcoin mining was among the activities on the list at the time.
However, the final list published by the state planner on Wednesday did not mention bitcoin mining. Its exclusion was reported by industry website CoinDesk.
It was not clear what the NDRC’s reasoning was for this move. The NDRC did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.
China is the world’s largest market for computer hardware designed to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but such activities have fallen in a regulatory grey area.
While China has been developing its own digital currency, it has in recent years moved to tightly regulate the wider sector.
In 2017, it started to ban initial coin offerings and shut cryptocurrency trading exchanges, and it also began to limit cryptocurrency mining, forcing many firms – among them some of the world’s largest – to find bases elsewhere.
Nearly half of bitcoin mining pools – groups of miners who team up for economies of scale – are in the Asia-Pacific region, found a University of Cambridge study last year.
Chinese companies are also among the biggest manufacturers of bitcoin mining gear.
Last month, Canaan Creative, one of China’s biggest bitcoin mining hardware makers, filed to publicly list on the Nasdaq to raise $400m, its third attempt to do so after previous failed tries in mainland China and Hong Kong.
Reuters news agency