Power Firm 'Misworded' Document on Supplying Bitcoin Mines, Mining Not Banned, Regulators Say
Xu Yanyan|Zhou Ailin
Power Firm 'Misworded' Document on Supplying Bitcoin Mines, Mining Not Banned, Regulators Say

(Yicai Global) Nov. 15 -- A document issued by a state-owned power company that demanded local power stations stop providing bitcoin miners with electricity, saying "bitcoin mining is an illegal activity," circulated on Chinese social media today. However, authorities did not ban bitcoin mining, electricity regulators said. The power firm said that its announcement was "misworded."

Netizens shared a notice purportedly published by the Danba county branch of the State Grid Corporation of China's Sichuan Ganzizhou Electric Power Co., instructing all its small hydropower plants not to supply bitcoin miners with power from the date they receive the notice. Generators that make electricity available to miners "shall be punished and untied from the grid," it said.

No official document has banned bitcoin mining, regulators told Yicai Global. Heads of bitcoin mining firms and pools said they had not heard that mining was prohibited.

Some phrases in the notice were inaccurately worded, an executive at the power company told Caixin. The document, which was drafted to urge local generators to prioritize providing power for civil use, was meant to be an internal memo -- not a formal policy statement, the executive said.

"We are a company, rather than an administrative entity that has the power to determine whether bitcoin mining is legitimate or not," the executive said. "There were many complaints from local people, and the notice was drafted in a rush."

China is home to 81 percent of the bitcoin network's hash rate, Sina Finance reported. Iceland, Japan, the Czech Republic, Georgia and India account for 5 percent, 3 percent, 3 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Sichuan province, which has abundant hydropower resources and low-cost electricity, has become one of the most concentrated places for bitcoin mining in the world.

Follow Yicai Global on