China could move to ban mining for bitcoin, based on a draft list of industrial activities the country’s state planner wants to eliminate.
According to a report in Reuters, citing the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC),China’s state planning agency is facing mounting pressure from the government to control the cryptocurrency market, and as a result may move to ban bitcoin mining. China is currently the biggest market for people to purchase computer hardware for cryptocurrency mining.
Reuters reported on Monday (April 8) that the NDRC said it is seeking public comments about the new list of industry practices that it wants to bolster, restrict or get rid of altogether, which was first made back in 2011. The public comment period ends on May 7.
The revised list now includes mining for bitcoin, along with more than 450 other practices that the agency said should be removed because they did not meet current laws and regulations, were deemed unsafe, wasted resources or harmed the environment.
This isn’t the first time the cryptocurrency market has faced increased scrutiny by the government of China. The country has been cracking down on cryptocurrency since 2017, when regulators first banned initial coin offerings and shuttered exchanges. It has also been clamping down on bitcoin mining, which has resulted in bitcoin mining operations setting up shop outside of China. Last year, three of China’s biggest makers of bitcoin mining gear filed to go public, but two of the biggest, Bitmain Technologies and Canaan, have not made moves since then to become publicly traded companies.
The move on the part of China comes as the price of bitcoin skyrocketed close to 20 percent last week, marking the best trading day since 2017. The price of bitcoin was able to surpass $5,000 for the first time since November. It’s not clear what drove the prices higher.