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China’s Inner Mongolia Declares War on Crypto Mining

Summary

China’s Inner Mongolia has banned cryptocurrency mining and declared it will shut all such projects by April, spurring fears the world’s No. 2 economy will take more steps to eradicate the power-hungry practice.


The autonomous region, a favorite among the industry because of its cheap power, also banned new digital coin projects, according to a draft plan posted on the Inner Mongolia Development and Reform Commission’s website Feb. 25. The aim is to constrain growth in energy consumption to about 1.9% in 2021.

 

The draft policy was released weeks after China’s top economic planner blasted Inner Mongolia for being the only province to fail to control energy consumption in 2019.

 

The region now aims to cut emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 3% this year and limit incremental growth of energy consumption to about 5 million tons of standard coal, according to the draft plan.

 

Inner Mongolia, which is clustered with large coal mines, is famous for inexpensive energy. The region accounted for 8% of global Bitcoin mining computing power, according to the Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index compiled by Cambridge University. China overall had over 65% of the network’s total.

 

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Photo: Stefen Chow

Inner Mongolia: A measurable fraction of all the computing power on the Bitcoin network is on these shelves.


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Inner Mongolia has some of the cheapest electricity prices in the world (4 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour, a government-reduced rate), which is the primary reason miners are setting up shop here. But it comes with a trade-off: The climate outside Bitmain’s warehouses can be brutal, especially in the summer.


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Heat Pumps: On the hot side of the warehouse, industrial fans blow air back out into the courtyard. Temperatures on this side exceed 40 °C (104 °F).

 

 

Quotes

Quote

China’s Inner Mongolia has banned cryptocurrency mining and declared it will shut all such projects by April. Chinese officials first outlined proposals in 2018 to discourage crypto-mining.

 

Quote

Inner Mongolia region accounted for 8% of global Bitcoin mining computing power, according to the Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index compiled by Cambridge University.

 

My thoughts

 

Based on what I’ve read crypto mining facilities have caused electricity consumption to grow twice as fast in the region over the last 5 years. And if they don’t do something about it, they are going to face power shortages.
 

I understand the need for cryptos but nothing justifies the power consumption.

 

Sources

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-01/bitcoin-rises-after-china-region-declares-war-on-crypto-mining?srnd=technology-vp

 

Image sources:

https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/networks/why-the-biggest-bitcoin-mines-are-in-china.amp.html

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Did you just copy and paste the entire news article? Don't do that. Someone took the time to write that and they make money by people visiting their site to read their articles.

 

From the Tech News Posting Guidelines:

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Your thread should also include quotes from the cited source(s). While you shouldn't just copy the entire article, your quote should give the reader a summary of the article in a way that gives the key details, but also leaves room for them to read the full article on the linked website. Please use quote tags to show that you have copied this content from another site.

 

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if the low energy price is (partially) government sponsored, i dont see any reason why they shouldnt be allowed to crack down on the practisce.

although.. my belgian mindset would rather see them just make crypto mines pay 'non-sponsored' energy prices, or even a slightly taxed energy cost?

 

EDIT: PS: climate can be brutal, and the hot side of their rooms reaches 40°c? texas would like a word with you.

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Good on them. I wish more governments would do the same. Cryptocurrency is legitimately a problem when it comes to world power consumption and doesn't offer anything of value over normal fiat currency. No need to waste such large amounts of energy and resources on something so pointless. Definitely has a huge negative impact on the environment. 

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I'm no expert on crypto stuff, so I don't comment on it too much, but from what I know about it, I think cryptocurrencies shouldn't exist. I just hate the idea that people around the world are trying to reduce carbon emissions in all sorts of ways, sometimes even investing large sums of money, and then there's a bunch of people burning up a huge amount of power in these computers doing nothing useful at all, just to make what seems to me like a marginal amount of profit. Power that may as well be spent to do actual useful work. Imagine all that energy being used for scientific research for instance.

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I wonder if it will propagate and more countries will start attacking it more aggressively.

 

31 minutes ago, akio123008 said:

I just hate the idea that people around the world are trying to reduce carbon emissions in all sorts of ways <snip>
and then there's a bunch of people burning up a huge amount of power in these computers doing nothing useful at all

Yes people around the world are trying, except the ones that should be. Ideally we all do our part, but still the majority of CO2 still comes from just a few companies. The problem is that green energy is expensive and there are little to no incentives for the big players to switch. Bitcoin is the lesser one to worry about so far in the grand scheme of things. Not to say we shouldn't find an alternative to the mining, it is using a huge amount of power, but also not all from gray energy.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, tikker said:

I wonder if it will propagate and more countries will start attacking it more aggressively.

 

Yes people around the world are trying, except the ones that should be. Ideally we all do our part, but still the majority of CO2 still comes from just a few companies. The problem is that green energy is expensive and there are little to no incentives for the big players to switch. Bitcoin is the lesser one to worry about so far in the grand scheme of things. Not to say we shouldn't find an alternative to the mining, it is using a huge amount of power, but also not all from gray energy.

I wouldn't say that Bitcoin and other coin mining are lesser one to worry about. Brownouts in multiple counties have been caused by people and Companies engage in such activities.

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Good riddance.

 

Cryptocurrency is a solution to a problem nobody except criminals had, and it's now destroying the planet as well with mining farms.

 

Also all those entitled people who think nvidia HAS to sell they a GPU because tHeYrE a GaMeR might be a thing of the past if lots of countries do this...

 

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Does the Chinese gov do any mining themselves? 
 

iirc they liked to shut down gold mines too but end up keeping them for themselves 

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1 hour ago, manikyath said:

EDIT: PS: climate can be brutal, and the hot side of their rooms reaches 40°c? texas would like a word with you.

tbh really not that hot, we do hot aisle containment so our hot aisles are in the 50C to even 60C. But to be fair we aren't using as much energy as these guys are it's just that the hot aisles are very small on purpose and the air is drawn through water heat exchangers. Great place to jump in to for a little bit if it's winter and damn cold :old-smile:

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I always find cryptocurrency news so entertaining on these forums because there are always a bunch of butthurt, self entitled gamers who are just seething, trying to come up with reasons to hate cryptocurrencies and anyone involved with it.

Crypto currency is the new bogeyman and is responsible for all the problems in the world...

 

Cryptocurrency are grapes, and there are a lot of foxes on this forum.

 

 

36 minutes ago, tikker said:

 

Yes people around the world are trying, except the ones that should be. Ideally we all do our part, but still the majority of CO2 still comes from just a few companies. The problem is that green energy is expensive and there are little to no incentives for the big players to switch. Bitcoin is the lesser one to worry about so far in the grand scheme of things. Not to say we shouldn't find an alternative to the mining, it is using a huge amount of power, but also not all from gray energy.

By several different measurements, green energy is cheaper than dirtier power like coal and oil.

A lot of green energy, such as solar power, have other issues that are not related to cost though. For example very uneven output (like with solar when power consumption drops to near zero at night), or ruining the environment in other ways (like hydro power plants ruining marine life).

 

I think the whole "bitcoin is bad for the environment because it uses so much power" is way overblown though. The estimate a lot of news articles use comes from Cambridge university and they currently estimate it to about 130 TWh in a year. That is a lot of power... But the US alone used 4,222 TWh in 2018. China used 7,225TWh alone in 2019.

 

Power consumption of all cryptomining in the entire world - 130 TWh.

Power consumption of the US and China alone, not counting the rest of the world - 11,447TWh.

 

The US and China alone uses about 8705% more power than all crypto mining combined.

In other words, if all of the crypto mining in the world was being done in the US and China, then those countries would only see a ~1.14% decrease in power consumption if all crypto mining was shut off overnight.

 

If you really care about the environment then you should not be mad at bitcoin miners. You should be mad at the far bigger perpetrators. You should be mad at people like Linus who encourages people to consume more and more products they don't actually need (like a new GPU). You should be mad at countries in Asia and Africa because they are the far biggest contributors to plastic pollution. 

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3 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

self entitled gamers who are just seething, trying to come up with reasons to hate cryptocurrencies and anyone involved with it.

Well, like... I don't know how many have noticed but at least in this article they are featuring bitcoin mining and ASIC miners so stopping specifically these guys would do jack in terms of GPU supply woes.

 

As for power usage, metals production uses like a good thousand or more percent more power, but I guess we really do need those metals.

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5 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

I always find cryptocurrency news so entertaining on these forums because there are always a bunch of butthurt, self entitled gamers who are just seething, trying to come up with reasons to hate cryptocurrencies and anyone involved with it.

Crypto currency is the new bogeyman and is responsible for all the problems in the world...

 

Cryptocurrency are grapes, and there are a lot of foxes on this forum.

Haha true. Funny and interesting what a strong polarizing effect crypto has.

  

4 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

By several different measurements, green energy is cheaper than dirtier power like coal and oil.

A lot of green energy, such as solar power, have other issues that are not related to cost though. For example very uneven output (like with solar when power consumption drops to near zero at night).

Ah. I based this on that my power plan from my provider was cheaper for gray energy than green energy and that  my university still benefits greatly from gray over green. Good to know that it's cheaper now though.

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On 3/4/2021 at 1:33 PM, LAwLz said:

then those countries would only see a ~1.14% decrease in power consumption if all crypto mining was shut off overnight.

Just like leaving a light bulb on in an empty room all the time would only increase my power bill by only a few percent but is still utterly useless and therefore I have no excuse to leave the damned thing on all the time.

 

I'm not even a gamer. (as in I don't think I game often enough to call myself one) I only buy a new GPU every 10 years or whatever. My R7 260x has been fine for years, and still is. I could use this thing for another 5 years without a problem. I don't care that GPUs are expensive because of mining. What bothers me is that crypto currencies use an awful lot of power for no real good reason. (that is of course subjective) To me their usefulness seems too small to justify the energy cost. 

 

On 3/4/2021 at 1:41 PM, leadeater said:

but I guess we really do need those metals.

This kind of hits the nail on its head; other things that use lots of power do something useful. It may use a load of power, and we need to work on that, but at least something's actually done. An actual problem is being solved, rather than a virtual one that we created ourselves. 

 

IMO crypto isn't bad for the environment because it uses lots of power, but because it does nothing or little of actual value to the world in general with the power that it uses. 

 

Edit: From what I know I don't like crypto currencies, perhaps because the benefits they provide have little value in my opinion, but getting rid of them by now is probably unrealistic. 

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2 minutes ago, leadeater said:

As for power usage, metals production uses like a good thousand or more percent more power, but I guess we really do need those metals.

Well but... If we stop mining metals then I can't buy the latest graphics card so I can play call of duty at slightly higher frame rates. We do really need those metals.

The environment is really important... As long as it's something someone else is doing. The things I do that are bad for the environment doesn't matter.

Also, remember to ban plastic products so that we have to rely on metals more!

 

 

3 minutes ago, tikker said:

Ah. I based this on that my power plan from my provider was cheaper for gray energy than green energy and that  my university still benefits greatly from gray over green. Good to know that it's cheaper now though.

Well it's a complex thing and I think both of us made generalizations that are true to varying degree. That's why I added the "by several different measurements" part. If your country also has a lot of gray energy infrastructure then chances are it is cheaper to just keep those things running compared to building brand new infrastructure for green energy.

IF a new city was being built, and IF the conditions were right, and IF there were no subsidies involved, then it is very likely that a green source of energy would be the cheapest.

Here is one of many comparisons.

Spoiler

Price-of-electricity-new-renewables-vs-new-fossil-no-geo.thumb.png.3930009ee3f4c6e4f0f97a0268db9ee4.png

 

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Cool

... but I'm no expert

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24 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

I think the whole "bitcoin is bad for the environment because it uses so much power" is way overblown though. The estimate a lot of news articles use comes from Cambridge university and they currently estimate it to about 130 TWh in a year. That is a lot of power... But the US alone used 4,222 TWh in 2018. China used 7,225TWh alone in 2019.

 

Power consumption of all cryptomining in the entire world - 130 TWh.

Power consumption of the US and China alone, not counting the rest of the world - 11,447TWh.

 

The US and China alone uses about 8705% more power than all crypto mining combined.

In other words, if all of the crypto mining in the world was being done in the US and China, then those countries would only see a ~1.14% decrease in power consumption if all crypto mining was shut off overnight.

 

If you really care about the environment then you should not be mad at bitcoin miners. You should be mad at the far bigger perpetrators. You should be mad at people like Linus who encourages people to consume more and more products they don't actually need (like a new GPU). You should be mad at countries in Asia and Africa because they are the far biggest contributors to plastic pollution. 

Found another statistic that might be interesting.

This analysis from Berkeley Lab estimated that in 2012, gaming computers used 75 TWh of power globally.

I would not be surprised if interest in gaming has doubled since 2012, since the industry is going so well, and if that's accurate then it is very likely that gaming uses as much power as mining does globally, and that contributes about as much to the world as mining does in my eyes.

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I do wonder what happens to all those graphic cards though.

44 minutes ago, bcredeur97 said:

Does the Chinese gov do any mining themselves? 
 

iirc they liked to shut down gold mines too but end up keeping them for themselves 

E-RMB is still planned but not entirely out yet.

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Great!

Cryptomining is a literal waste of power, just to get a few bits of data that people randomly attributed value to.

Considering the majority of China's power comes from fossil fuel/coal, this can only be good for the planet if they crack down on it.

It might not be as bad in places where the main source of power are renewables... But still, a complete waste of power for arbitrary reasons that could result in massive spending of tax payers' money to build new power generators that wouldn't have been needed otherwise(not everywhere is like the US with private electricity sector... It's a public utility in many places).

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2 hours ago, Spotty said:

Did you just copy and paste the entire news article? Don't do that. Someone took the time to write that and they make money by people visiting their site to read their articles.

 

From the Tech News Posting Guidelines:

 

I know... 😅 if it’s any consolation the images and their captions are from another source published a few years ago.

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28 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Found another statistic that might be interesting.

This analysis from Berkeley Lab estimated that in 2012, gaming computers used 75 TWh of power globally.

I would not be surprised if interest in gaming has doubled since 2012, since the industry is going so well, and if that's accurate then it is very likely that gaming uses as much power as mining does globally, and that contributes about as much to the world as mining does in my eyes.

I really hate how this always comes up and somehow people think that entertainment and cryptocurrency mining are equivalent when they are not. That like saying someone who uses water for a slipnslide during the summer for their kids is just as wasteful as a guy whole leaves his sink on for a couple of hours for no reason at all. They clearly aren't equivalent because one is actually providing entertainment while the other is just plain wasteful for no reason. 

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Considering how China is currently going through a massive coal shortage due to political disputes with Australia and how they are currently attempting to set up their own end-all be-all digital currency, I am quite surprised that it took them this long. 

 

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22 minutes ago, TetraSky said:

Could simply make the damn thing available for purchase/selling by all instead of needing to be mined and people would still use it if they saw a use to it, except then they wouldn't be getting it "for free" (minus electricity and hardware cost) anymore.

That's not how crypto currency works...

I wonder how many people who say mining is a waste of resources actually understand how blockchains work. Mining serves a very important purpose and is an integral part of making cryptocurrencies work. 

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4 minutes ago, Brooksie359 said:

I really hate how this always comes up and somehow people think that entertainment and cryptocurrency mining are equivalent when they are not. That like saying someone who uses water for a slipnslide during the summer for their kids is just as wasteful as a guy whole leaves his sink on for a couple of hours for no reason at all. They clearly aren't equivalent because one is actually providing entertainment while the other is just plain wasteful for no reason. 

Well.... it's not actually it is supporting decentralized digital monetary transfers.... so it's more like comparing a slipnslide with a garden. While it does create currency, it also serves the same purpose as the large server farms that most card companies and banks operate. Though with extra cryptography to make it more secure.

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