The coronavirus outbreak has been a trending topic worldwide, as the virus has spread since it was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China. More recently the virus has been affecting the bitcoin industry because a large number of businesses and mining operations stem from China.
During the first week of February, a few of the top mining rig manufacturers from China revealed they were forced to postpone device shipments due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Regional reports from the country now disclose that shipments will be delayed even longer and Chinese mining rig companies and second-market suppliers are feeling significant stress from the situation.
At the end of January, Microbt announced that miner shipments would be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The mining rig manufacturers Canaan and Bitmain also issued similar notices.
On February 1, Ebang published a post on Wechat that notified customers about a delay as well. Weeks later and after the delay dates were supposed to be lifted, reports detail that mining rig manufacturers and suppliers are still being held up by coronavirus shipping delays.
Estimates say more than 65% of the global SHA256 hashrate stems from China.
On February 14, 8btc’s Vincent He interviewed a mining equipment vendor from Huaqiang North, a large distribution center for mining rigs. Miss Hu told the columnist “After waiting for a long time for bitcoin halving, my store couldn’t open.” The vendor explained that delays were issued twice already and she doesn’t know “if there will be any changes.” Even the aftermath may affect her sales as she believes newcomers might not visit the store over the risk of infection. Additionally, 8btc discussed the subject with Bitmain’s sales director Xiaojun Fan who stressed deliveries are still delayed. Fan noted that employees are unable to get back to work because of the coronavirus quarantine controls which in turn are affecting the mining rig supply chain.
Delays were supposed to be lifted between February 8-9th, but the delays were extended.
Will the Coronavirus Affect the Overall Hashrate and Upcoming Bitcoin Halving?
Moreover, Btc.top founder Jiang Zhuoer discussed the coronavirus outbreak affecting mining operations on Weibo. “It is understandable to take our employees’ temperatures, call the roll and forbid them to go out, but how does shutting down mining machines help in quarantine controls? If we go on like this, most of the people (especially the laboring people in the front line) will have to die of poverty without suffering from the virus”, Zhuoer said. The comment came after one of his mining farms in Xinjiang was forced to shut down temporarily.
BTC global hashrate on February 19, 2020.
It is estimated that 65% of the global SHA256 hashrate resides in China and some speculators believe BTC’s recent difficulty adjustment dropped because of the coronavirus quarantine controls. BTC’s hashrate was averaging around 110 exahash per second (EH/s) all the way until February 15 but the hashpower dropped to around 97 EH/s on February 19. Because it hasn’t dropped too much, people assume there’s a possibility miners outside of China are carrying the weight. The delay is awfully close to the reward halving as well on chains like BTC, BCH, and BSV. As of today, there are 80 days left until BTC’s halving takes place and BCH and BSV will see halvings one month prior.
Additionally, 8btc’s recent report highlights that if the epidemic gets worse mining operations located in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, and Yunnan could “suffer from losses.” At press time, next-generation miners like the T and S 17 series manufactured by Bitmain are scheduled to ship during the first week of April.