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Is China Losing Its Bitcoin Mining Monopoly?




This week the price of Bitcoin (BTC) surged more than 15%, reaching a high at $7,200 before pulling back into the $6,800 range. Despite the recovery, Bitcoin still has a way to go in order to reach the $8,000 level seen before the coronavirus-triggered selloff on March 12. The drop had several consequences on the Bitcoin network. Having reached the $3,800 price range, the accentuated drop forced some Bitcoin miners to throw in the towel and shut down their operations due to mining becoming unprofitable. As miners have hosting and electricity fees to keep up with, often relying on the short-term yields of their equipment, the price led to the biggest difficulty drop since 2011. However, it seems like the coronavirus and the steep drop in the value of Bitcoin may have affected some regions more than others.


Chinese miners go dark

As was recently reported by the Chinese publication Securities Daily, more than 40 established mining operations have been forced to shut down as a large number of Antminer S9s, an older generation of Bitmain’s popular Antminer products, have become unprofitable. An industry insider told the publication that “roughly 2.3 million Antminer S9s have been shut down since March 10,” according to data from F2pool. This drop in the price of BTC seems to have affected Chinese miners the most due to the amount of S9s and old-generation equipment that have become unprofitable to keep using. Electricity prices for miners in China range from $0.03 to $0.05 per kilowatt-hour. Even for miners with electricity at median rates of $0.04 per kWh, miners need Bitcoin to be at $5,136 to be profitable.

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