SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s state planner wants to ban bitcoin mining, according to a draft list of industrial activities the agency is seeking to stop in a sign of growing government pressure on the cryptocurrency sector.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Monday it was seeking public opinions on a revised list of industries it wants to encourage, restrict or eliminate. The list was first published in 2011.
The draft for a revised list added cryptocurrency mining, including that of bitcoin, to over 450 activities the NDRC said should be phased out as they did not adhere to relevant laws and regulations, were unsafe, wasted resources or polluted the environment.
It did not stipulate a target date or plan for how to eliminate bitcoin mining, meaning that such activities should be phased out immediately, the document said. The public has have until May 7 to comment on the draft.
State-owned newspaper Securities Times said on Tuesday that the draft list “distinctly reflects the attitude of the country’s industrial policy” towards the cryptocurrency industry.
The cryptocurrency sector has been under heavy scrutiny in China since 2017, when regulators started to ban initial coin offerings and shut local cryptocurrency trading exchanges.
China also began to limit cryptocurrency mining, forcing many firms – among them some of the world’s largest – to find bases elsewhere.
Chinese companies are also among the biggest manufacturers of bitcoin mining gear. Reuters reported last year that at least three were looking to raise billions of dollars with initial public offerings in Hong Kong. But at least one, Canaan Inc, let its application lapse.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Richard Borsuk)