China's Inner Mongolia seeks to shut crypto mining farms in new proposal

The government of China's Inner Mongolia region is seeking for public feedback on a regulation proposal, which includes plans to shut down all crypto mining farms in the area.

The Inner Mongolia Development and Reformation Commission (DRC) published a proposal last week on various regulatory measures that aim to help the region achieve energy saving goals under China's 14th five-year economic plan that spans from 2021 to 2025.

As part of the scope to eliminate industries that consume excessive energy, the government agency's proposal seeks to "fully clear out and shut down all virtual currency mining projects by the end of April 2021."

Regarding how to speed up the restructuring process for energy-intense industries, the proposal further seeks to "properly control the development scale of data centers and prohibits constructing any new virtual currency mining projects."

The Inner Mongolia region, after Sichuan and Xinjiang, is the third largest spot in China where bitcoin mining farms would call home, which rely on local fossil power plants. 

The public consultation period will last until March 3 and it remains to be seen if the Inner Mongolia DRC would eventually modify the language around crypto mining. 

The Inner Mongolia DRC is a local branch of China's National Development and Reformation Commission (NDRC) – the country's highest level economic planner and one of the 26 cabinet ministries that form the State Council.

In 2019, when the NDRC sought to update its macro guidance on industrial reorganization, it initially added crypto mining to a group of industries that should be eliminated in a draft proposal.

But months after a public consultation process, the agency deleted the entire language about crypto mining in the final reorganization guidance. 

This isn't the first time that the Inner Mongolia government is trying to curb crypto mining activities. In last August, it stripped of electricity perks for 21 bitcoin mining farms that included the ones belonging to bitcoin miner makers Bitmain and Ebang. 

Such a stance is different to the approach taken by counterparts in the Sichuan province.

As previously detailed by The Block, the Sichuan government has established several state-sanctioned industrial parks where bitcoin mining farms can operate in a compliant environment since 2020 to help consume excessive hydropower that would otherwise go wasted.