Chinese financial technology and communications firm Zhongjia Bochuang announced plans to buy $155 million of WhatsMiners Bitcoin mining machines.
Built by local producer MicroBT, the ASIC machines are merely the first of a planned 20,000-unit buy over the next two years. The first 2,000 are scheduled for delivery in May, according to a report by local news outlet Chain News.
While the mining machines are a new business line for ZJBC, it is not the AI and cloud communications-focused first foray into the cryptocurrency mining business. It noted that one of its subsidiaries, Changshi Telecommunication, has been building and maintaining blockchain mining farms since 2018.
While Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining is dominated by China, which is thought to control as much as 65% of Bitcoin’s hashrate, the business is facing some serious headwinds, due in large part to the staggering amount of pollution caused by the massive amounts of electricity the specialized mining machines draw. According to Digiconomist, Bitcoin currently has the carbon footprint of Ecuador and the energy requirements of Chile.
Given that China has some of the worst pollution in the world, thanks in large part to energy production by dirty coal-burning power plants, Bitcoin mining is facing growing regulatory challenges. In February, local authorities in the Inner Mongolia region announced a complete ban on crypto currency mining to begin in April. Inner Mongolia is a major Bitcoin-mining region, accounting for 8% of BTC’s global hashrate.
Despite that, ZJBC’s plan is just the last of a long line of Chinese companies jumping into the cryptocurrency mining business as the price of BTC skyrocketed over the last few months. As Modern Consensus reported on March 9, Chinese crypto mining hardware producer Ebang raked in $170 million in two fundraising rounds in February, while waste recycling firm Code Chain New Continent raised $25 million to start mining Bitcoin.