Xinjiang’s Cryptocurrency Miners in Limbo by August 30

The leaked document orders utility companies to report the progress of the exits from bitcoin mining.

Authorities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur region issued a notice asking local utility companies to shut down their services to illegal bitcoin mining operations by the end of next month.

Xinjiang was home to the majority of cryptocurrency mining operations before Beijing last year began to discourage it as part of a larger crackdown on the sector. Bitcoin miners have taken advantage of cheap power in coal-abundant areas like Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia in recent years to expand their operations.

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CoinDesk reported Monday that an official from Xinjiang’s Economic and Information Commission (EIC) confirmed the authenticity of the document, saying the targeted miners are those not registered with the government or have been using electricity without formal contracts with power suppliers in the autonomous region.

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The leaked document also orders utility companies in the region to report information about mining facilities in their jurisdiction, as well as the progress of the exits from mining. Already, some of the biggest bitcoin miners in China are moving operations overseas, with the US and Canada among popular options.

This isn’t the first time cryptocurrency miners have been accused of ‎illegally using subsidized electricity in China, which its authorities ‎previously called for an orderly exit from the industry.

Earlier in April, police in the north China city of Tianjin confiscated 600 computers used to mine bitcoin cryptocurrency after the local power grid operator reported abnormal electricity usage

Also in January, the country’s top internet-finance regulator issued a notice ordering local authorities to guide the shutdown of operations that mine cryptocurrencies. While most of these notices called for an exit but it has never set a deadline for the full compliance.

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