Inner Mongolia Government Threatens Punishment for Crypto Mining

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A new notice warns telecoms, big data centres and cloud computing companies of severe punishment if they engage in or facilitate crypto mining activities.

The Inner Mongolia Development and Reform Commission has issued a series of regulatory proposals aimed at clamping down on cryptocurrency mining in the autonomous region.

The measures follow a notice issued last week announcing a plan to set up a new reporting platform for residents to report on illegal crypto mining projects in Inner Mongolia. The notice came just as three state-backed associations representing internet firms, banks, and payments companies barred their members from providing crypto-related services to customers.

China is known to be the world’s biggest Bitcoin mining nation, accounting for an estimated 65 percent of the total global Bitcoin hashrate. The Inner Mongolia autonomous region is the country’s third-largest bitcoin mining area, accounting for about 8.1 percent of the global hashrate.

In the new notice, the Inner Mongolia Development and Reform Commission has warned of severe punishment against cryptocurrency mining activities, proposing to revoke the business licences of any telecommunications and internet companies that engage in cryptocurrency mining.

According to the Commission, cryptocurrency mining equipment consumes a lot of energy to operate, and as such, big data centre and cloud computing companies involved in cryptocurrency mining would no longer be eligible for preferential government policies under the proposed rules.

In addition, the measures stipulate that the Commission could report those who use electricity for cryptocurrency mining without regulatory permission to judicial departments.

“For entities such as virtual currency mining projects that have been privately connected to power sources without approval, … their illegal electricity theft shall be transferred to the judicial organs for handling in accordance with the law.”

Companies may also be reported to anti-corruption agencies if found to be aiding companies involved in cryptocurrency mining.

The measures are open for consultation until 1 June.

According to Caixin, the Inner Mongolia government announced in February that it aims to lower its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 3 percent in 2021, and reduce the role of high-energy consumption industries in its economy.

The government plans to shut down all cryptocurrency mining projects by the end of April to meet its energy target.

Some cryptocurrency miners are said to have started to transfer their equipment overseas.





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