Inner Mongolia establishes a hotline to track alleged cryptocurrency miners

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Authorities in Inner Mongolia are cracking down ever more on cryptocurrency mining activities, which can jeopardise the region’s efforts to minimise carbon pollution.

A new announcement from the  Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Development and Reform Commission, or DRC, has informed the public that they now have a direct way to report on any outlying cryptocurrency operations in the region.

As previously mentioned, Inner Mongolia was once home to a large network of crypto mining miners, accounting for 7.71 percent of the global Bitcoin (BTC) hash rate between September 2019 and April 2020.

As part of Beijing’s increasingly proactive and ambitious agenda to reduce carbon emissions, Chinese authorities have increasingly scrutinized the coal-rich region of Inner Mongolia, where plentiful and cheap electricity remains reliant on fossil fuels. According to A Greenpeace report from the end of March of this year, Inner Mongolia approved the highest amount of new capacity for coal-fired power plants between 2016 and 2020 of any DRC in China.

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Today’s announcement demonstrates that regional officials are attempting to change the tide on electricity, in part by stepping up their crackdown on illicit and energy-intensive crypto mining operations. A dedicated phone hotline, email, and postal service will be available to the general public to report any alleged crypto mining operation in the area to authorities.

According to the announcement, alleged individuals could be masquerading as data centres and benefiting from preferential tax, property, and energy policies while illegally mining cryptocurrencies.

The establishment of the hotline is just the latest step in local governments’ efforts to gain control of residual mining activities in their jurisdiction. In August 2020, officials proposed enacting a regulation that would prohibit cryptocurrency miners from using cheap, government-subsidized energy. A draught plan presented in March of this year to “completely clean up and shut down virtual currency mining projects” by the end of April. Today’s declaration uses similar language, showing that the city is committed to correcting previous failures to achieve Beijing’s energy-saving goals.

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