Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

A ban on crypto-mining?

10 April 2019

With the boom in crypto-currencies, the world has become acutely aware that your Bitcoin or other unit of exchange can actually be rather expensive to mine, certainly from an energy perspective.

Whilst the amount of energy being used to mine crypto-currencies is, to some degree, regulated by the value of that currency, there are still some coins that are apparently worth spending the KW/H to create -- and that's got the Chinese government worried.

Surprisingly, China is doing a pretty good job on "tidying up its act" when it comes to environmental issues so it is perhaps not surprising that they are considering a ban on crypto-mining within their borders as a way of reducing electricity demand and therefore CO2 emissions.

However, the real reason may be a little more simple than that.

If this Reuters report is to be believed, it seems that this possible ban is more about control than emissions.

If implemented, this move by the Chinese government could be a bit problematic for the massive industry that is the manufacture of mining hardware which is estimated to be earning the country billions of dollars in exports.

Last year alone there were three Chinese mining-hardware manufacturers who filed IPOs in Hong Kong.

With China being one of the main countries churning out Bitcoin and other crypto-coins, mainly due to the low cost of electricity and ample supply of hardware, a ban on this activity could either push prices higher or hasten their demise (as the cost of mining rises exceeds the tradeable value).

One can't help but wonder whether the Chinese government wants to ban private mining operations so that state-run ones can operate without competition -- that's how totalitarianism works sometimes.

The future of crypto as a whole still seems to be uncertain.

Although Bitcoin recently saw a slight resurgence and broke the US$5,000 barrier since 2017, it remains far short of the almost $20,000 value ascribed to it at its peak. Whilst there have been a few Bitcoin millionaires there have been an awful lot more Bitcoin bankruptcies!

If China does impose a ban and doesn't pick up the slack with its own state-run mining operations I would expect to see a further decline. In fact, I think crypto-currencies have "done their dough" so to speak. Even if they recovered to previous levels, the public's confidence in their stability has taken a big hit and I'm pretty sure that governments around the world would start acting to reign in the freedoms and anonymity some of these currencies deliver to "the man in the street".

All over the world, governments are helping steer populations away from cash and towards digital currencies (in the form of bank-to-bank transfers, card and NFC-based transactions) because this is a powerful way to undermine the black economy and the lost tax revenues such "under the counter" deals create. A proliferation of untraceable crypto-currencies would effectively allow significant trading below the taxman's radar and that, as we know, could not be tolerated.

I also wonder if China is simply in the process of starting a trend that will be followed by other governments in the near future.

As we've recently seen in the wake of events here in NZ, governments are having a field-day removing freedoms and imposing restrictions on what populations can/can't do or can/can't have access to. I suspect that there are many governments in the Western World who are pretty giddy with excitement right now, having seen how little kick-back there is from the general population. While they're on a roll, why not start banning all sorts of other stuff that is inconvenient or poses a threat to the security of the trough from which all parties feed?

Yes, I'm an old cynic aren't I?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines



The EZ Battery Reconditioning scam

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


Recent Columns

The fascinating history of computers
I must admit that yesterday I spent far more time than I should have, strolling down memory lane and beyond...

The ultimate war strategy
The world is hotting up, in more ways than one...

Bribing the media?
I think it is pretty safe to say that we have seen a rather sad deterioration in the mainstream news media over the years...

Do not talk about racism
When I came to New Zealand in the late 1970s it was a harmonious nation of "Kiwis"...

Do not talk about racism
When I came to New Zealand in the late 1970s it was a harmonious nation of "Kiwis"...

I call Bullshirt!
There has been a lot of talk about hydrogen being the "green" fuel we need to fight climate change...

Lies and deception
Sorry, I'm talking about drones today -- or should I say I am NOT talking about drones...

Sorry for being old and late
Wow... it's lunchtime and I'm only just getting to the Aardvark column for the day...

Legalised malware
Increased surveillance by both state and private entities is causing growing paranoia within the ranks of the general public...

Oh no, the vaccine will kill me!
I published a video last week in which I mentioned that I had received my first jab of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination...

That's working well then
The NZ government has made some sweeping changes to our gun laws of late...