The hashing power securing the world’s two largest blockchains is on track of a slow recovery, as some Chinese miners have gradually completed their relocation after the crackdown.
Based on The Block’s Dashboard, the seven-day moving average of Bitcoin’s hash rate has slowly climbed up to and remained at the 100 exahashes per second (EH/s) level over the past three weeks.
Following China’s crackdown on the bitcoin mining industry, power stations across multiple provinces have been ordered to suspend energy supply to mining facilities. Bitcoin’s hash rate initially plunged to below 90 EH/s, a level not seen since early 2020. With the slow recovery, bitcoin’s mining difficulty is expected to post a 4 percent growth in its next adjustment, after having recorded four consecutive drops since mid-May.
Although China’s initial crackdown comment specifically said it was about bitcoin mining, the shutdown orders that were eventually handed down locally also affected the mining farms that housed graphic cards and ASIC miners securing the Ethereum network. That situation sparked Ethereum miners to dump their used GPUs on the secondhand marketplace.
Similarly, the hash rate on Ethereum also took a hit by over 20 percent after China’s crackdown orders but has steadily recovered to above 500 terahashes per second.
The hash rate rebound suggests that at least some Chinese miners have completed their relocation process and subsequently plugged in.
For instance, Shenzhen-headquartered BIT Mining, previously known as online sports lottery firm 500.com, had over 50,000 bitcoin ASIC miners in Xinjiang and Qinghai as of April this year. It also owned two operational mining facilities in Sichuan.
After the crackdown, the New York Stock Exchange-listed bitcoin miner said it would ship 3,000 units to Kazakhstan by July. In a statement on Wednesday, BIT Mining said it has shipped and deployed 3,819 units of bitcoin mining equipment with a total hash rate of 172 PH/s at facilities in Kazakhstan. It announced earlier this week that it has completely exited its lottery business to focus entirely on mining.
“A further 4,033 bitcoin mining machines with a total hash rate capacity of 121 PH/s have been shipped to data centers in Kazakhstan and are awaiting deployment,” BIT Mining said. In addition, it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire 2,500 new bitcoin miners that are expected to be delivered within seven days and it plans to deploy them in Kazakhstan as well.
Apart from bitcoin mining equipment, BIT Mining has started Ethereum mining operations outside of China with 86.4 gigahashes per second (GH/s) deployed. “An additional hash rate capacity of 4,713.6 GH/s is expected to be deployed by the end of October 2021,” the firm said, which accounts for about 0.7 percent of the total hash rate on Ethereum.
BIT Mining purchased 2,000 Ethereum miners for $30 million in February that are due for shipment throughout this year.
Russia-headquartered colocation provider BitRiver told The Block that after China’s shutdown orders, it signed contracts with Chinese mining clients for a capacity of 150 megawatts, which are expected to go online in batches over the coming four months.
Taking a step back, BitRiver’s founder and CEO Igor Runets said with a worldwide supply crunch for bitcoin mining hosting capacity, it may take much longer for bitcoin’s hash rate to fully recover to the all-time-high 180 EH/s level.
Meanwhile, BIT Digital, another U.S.-listed bitcoin mining firm that previously had operations in China, is in the process of shipping over 14,500 units of bitcoin miners to the U.S.
Official eNaira Website Goes Live
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) eNaira website has gone live a week before the planned launch of the digital currency.
The website promises easier financial transactions for users of eNaira, offers opportunity for peer-to-peer payments which allows users to send money to one another through a linked bank account or card; allows customers to move money from their bank account to their eNaira wallet with ease; can monitor their eNaira wallet, check balances and view transaction history; and make in-store payment using their eNaira wallet by scanning QR codes.
In addition, customers are allowed to scan the QR Code on the website to get started.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, while speaking to a gathering of foreign investors in New York, recently, had told his audience that because of activities surrounding the country’s Independence celebration on October 1, the earlier planned launch of the eNaira on same date would likely be rescheduled to October 4, 2021.
“The central bank would not want the event to take the shine away from the Independence celebration,” he said.
“We are going to be the first country in Africa to launch a digital currency. It is a novel idea because we think it will facilitate trade, Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa, this will set the tone to tell Africa that we are ready to lead and we would indeed lead in trade and we would make sure that happens.
“Between all central bankers in ECOWAS, we are already working on certain collaboration to make trade, payment and banking system integrate in such a way to set example on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” he added.
In line with global trend, the CBN recently took a major step towards the launch of its digital currency with its formal announcement of its engagement of global fintech company, Bitt Inc. as its technical partner for the project. To choose the technical partner, the CBN went through a rigorous vendor selection process in line with the Public Procurement Act, conducted by seven departmental directors and a Deputy Governor whereby several companies were evaluated. The evaluation was based on the following criteria: technology ownership and control; implementation timeline; efficiency, ease of adoption; support for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); platform security; interoperability; implementation experience.
Emefiele expressed optimism that the eNaira, would bring about increased cross-border trade, accelerate financial inclusion and lead to cheaper and faster remittance inflow. He said the digital money would lead to easier targeted social interventions, as well as improvement in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection.
According to him, after its unveiling, Nigerians should be able to download the eNaira app from either Google plays store or Apple app store, on board themselves and fund their eNaira wallet using their bank account or with cash at a registered agent location.
“If you are a bank customer and you have say N10 million in your bank account, for your comfort of spending and making purchase, you can tell the bank to load N2 million out of your N10 million into your wallet.
“So, your bank balance in physical cash drops to N8 million, while your e-wallet carries N2 million. With that you can make purchases both within and across the country.
“There are so many variance of the eNaira. But this is where we would start because we are not going to pretend that there are not risks in opening your system up. We would look at the various products, determine the risk, determine the best way to mitigate the risk before we now open it up more and more,” Emefiele added.
Also shedding more light on Bitts, he said, “we chose them as a partner. In some other climes where they are, they have their software and they earn their money. But we chose that they would establish their company in Nigeria. “The CBN will own substantially stake in that company. It is a company that will be established in Nigeria and majority holding will be the CBN,” he added.
On his part, the CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, explained that the eNaira project had been a long and thorough process for the apex bank following its resolve in 2017, to digitise the local currency after extensive research and exploration.
Meanwhile, China’s central bank last weekend announced that all transactions of crypto-currencies are illegal, effectively banning digital tokens such as Bitcoin.
“Virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities,” the BBC quoted People’s Bank of China to have said, warning it “seriously endangers the safety of people’s assets”. China is one of the world’s largest crypto-currency markets. Fluctuations there often impact the global price of crypto-currencies.
The price of Bitcoin fell by more than $2,000 (£1,460) in the wake of the Chinese announcement.
It was the latest in China’s national crackdown on what it sees as a volatile, speculative investment at best – and a way to launder money at worst. Trading crypto-currency had officially been banned in China since 2019, but had continued online through foreign exchanges. However, there has been a significant crackdown this year.
In May, Chinese state intuitions warned buyers they would have no protection for continuing to trade Bitcoin and other currencies online, as government officials vowed to increase pressure on the industry.
In June, it told banks and payment platforms to stop facilitating transactions and issued bans on “mining” the currencies – the trade of using powerful computers to make new coins.
Cryptocurrency Exchanges Rush to Cut Ties With Chinese Users After Fresh Crackdown
Cryptocurrency exchanges and providers of crypto services are scrambling to sever business ties with mainland Chinese clients, after Beijing last Friday issued a blanket ban on all crypto trading and mining.
In a culmination of years of efforts to rein in the sector, 10 powerful Chinese government bodies including the central bank, said overseas exchanges were barred from providing services to mainland investors via the internet – a previously grey area – and vowed to jointly root out “illegal” cryptocurrency activities.
Huobi Global and Binance, two of the world’s largest exchanges and popular with Chinese users, have stopped new registrations of accounts by mainland customers. Huobi also said it would clean up existing ones by the end of the year.
“On the very day we saw the notice, we started to take corrective measures,” Du Jun, Huobi Group co-founder said in a statement to Reuters.
Du did not give an estimate how many of its users would be affected, saying only that Huobi, once the world’s biggest crypto exchange, had embarked on a global expansion strategy many years ago and seen steady growth in Southeast Asia and Europe.
Shares in crypto-related firms tumbled on Monday with crypto asset manager and trading firm Huobi Tech plunging 23% and OKG Technology Holdings Ltd, a fintech company majority owned by Xu Mingxing, the founder of cryptoexchange OKcoin, losing 12%.
TokenPocket, a popular service provider of crypto wallets, also said in a notice to clients that it would terminate services to mainland Chinese clients that risk violating Chinese policies and would “actively embrace” regulation. It added it welcomes cooperation from China in blockchain technologies.
Many Chinese crypto exchanges shut down or moved offshore in 2017, after China, once the world’s biggest bitcoin trading and mining centre, banned such platforms from converting legal tender into cryptocurrencies and vice versa. Then in May this year, China’s State Council vowed to ban bitcoin trading and mining.
Amid the crackdown, other types of Chinese crypto companies have been moving out of China over the past few months, said Flex Yang, founder and CEO of Babel Finance, adding that the impact from the latest policy would be “limited”.
The Chinese crypto financial services provider this month opened new business headquarters in Singapore.
Cobo, a crypto asset management and custodian platform, also recently moved its headquarters from Beijing to Singapore.
Coinbase Bonds Fall Again After China Bans Cryptocurrency
Coinbase Global Inc.’s debut junk-bond sale fell to fresh lows after the Chinese government banned all crypto transactions and vowed to stop illegal crypto mining.
Paper losses for investors that bought the two tranches of notes at par now stand at roughly $100 million.
The $1 billion 10-year 3.625% bonds dropped more than 1.5 points overnight to 94.5 cents on the dollar, while the $1 billion seven-year 3.375% notes fell more than a point to 95.5 cents, according to Trace bond pricing data.
Coinbase’s bonds had already whipsawed since pricing on Sept. 14 as markets traded down over fears that the Evergrande contagion could affect global markets, and after dropping plans to launch a new crypto lending platform after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission raised concerns over the plan.
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