On April 20, the city of Ya’an in the Sichuan province of China has published a document that encourages bitcoin mining and blockchain operations to use the region’s abundant hydropower stations. It’s likely that the Covid-19 economy has changed the politician’s minds as Sichuan lawmakers didn’t care for mining operations in 2018. Roughly a year ago today, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in China explained a number of industries it wanted entrepreneurs to encourage, as well as businesses the commission wanted eliminated. According to the NDRC, bitcoin mining is “resource-wasteful” and the group promoted the elimination of its practice in China.
The local government of Ya’an city, in China’s Sichuan province, has announced the region is encouraging bitcoin mining in Sichuan if operations leverage the local hydropower plants. The document released by Ya’an city officials is in stark contrast to how Sichuan lawmakers felt about mining in 2018. Back then the government and China’s central bank called the operation “wasteful” and discouraged the business.
Despite the NDRC’s statements last year, a two-part study revealed a number of publicly-traded Chinese firms participated in bitcoin mining operations. The city of Ya’an’s statements are totally different from the NDRC’s proposal and after the harsh reality of the coronavirus post-economy, it seems the Sichuan province is open for business when it comes to mining. A translation of the city of Ya’an’s says:
“Blockchain companies should construct factories near power plants that have excessive power and are integrated with the State Grid,” the document notes. “For blockchain companies that use electricity privately generated from power plants (without integration to the State Grid) should be rectified in due time.”
The document notes that Ya’an’s officials want the Sichuan province to become a blockchain and crypto mining hub. Sichuan has always been known to have a massive concentration of bitcoin mining farms as electricity is very cheap in the area. During the wet season, Sichuan sees a significant migration of mining operations set up shop in order to benefit from the region’s cheap hydro-powered electricity. Wet season operational data shows Sichuan miners can get an astounding 0.08 yuan per kWh or $0.01 per kWh.
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15 Arrested in China for Allegedly Bribing Internet Cafe to Mine Crypto
Chinese authorities arrested fifteen men suspected of corrupting an internet café administrator to mine cryptocurrency.
Local crypto industry news outlet 8BTC reported on Sept. 3 that police in Henyang, a city in south central China’s Hunan province, arrested the man for cryptojacking. Over 9,000 computer administrators were reportedly involved in helping the unauthorized mining operation.
A profitable endeavor
The cryptocurrency mined by the suspects in the four months ending in July has been sold for over a hundred million yuan (about $14 million). Local police received a report suggesting that many local Internet cafes were running cryptojacking malware.
The findings of the preliminary investigation suggest that the malware has been developed by a network technology company in Zhengzhou, and the company’s head is surnamed Zhang.
Zhang is suspected of personally bribing the internet cafe administrators to let him install the malware on their computers. All of the 15 men allegedly involved are now under arrest and the investigation is still ongoing.
Not the first mining-related arrest
In July, police in China also arrested 22 suspects allegedly involved in illegal crypto mining activity that stole electricity worth about $3 million.
As Cointelegraph reported at the end of August, cybersecurity company McAfee Labs has released its August 2019 threat report, which notes a 29% increase in cryptojacking campaigns and ransomware attacks in Q1 2019.