According to new data on global bitcoin mining released on Tuesday by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), China has jumped back to one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining hubs.
The study, conducted in collaboration with mining pools BTC.com, Poolin, ViaBTC, and Foundry, shows that China has slipped to second place behind the United States, nearly a year after the Chinese government cracked down on major domestic operations.
With a 21.1% mining capacity, China has reemerged as a key mining hub, followed by Kazakhstan (13.22%), Canada (6.48%), and Russia (4.66%). The United States, on the other hand, has a 37.84% share of the overall hash rate activity in the world.
Data on Bitcoin’s total global hash rate – the network’s aggregate computing power – was collected from September 2021 to January 2022.
The most recent data from the CCAF reveals that this rebound in China’s hash rate is the result of clandestine operations, which has resulted in a sudden surge back to 30.47 exahashes per second (EH/s) in September 2021.
“Access to off-grid electricity and geographically scattered, small-scale operations are among the major means used by underground miners to hide their operations from authorities and circumvent the ban,” the research notes.
In May 2021, China’s State Council of the People’s Republic of China, a cabinet-level administrative organisation, began ordering various provinces across the country to prepare for a complete halt to mining operations.
Qinghai – a province in northern China – became the first jurisdiction to shut down its crypto mining operations less than a month later. Other provinces also followed suit, citing environmental concerns.
“The effect of the Chinese crackdown is an increased geographic distribution of hashrate across the world, which can be considered a positive development for network security and the decentralised principles of Bitcoin,” Michel Rauchs, digital assets lead at the CCAF, wrote in a note in October.