US leads Bitcoin mining as China ban takes effect
China’s share of global Bitcoin mining has fallen to effectively zero, research by the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) suggests.
In June China told banks to stop facilitating transactions and issued bans on mining.
At its peak in Sept 2019, China accounted for over three-quarters of all Bitcoin mining.
China’s crackdown initially led to a 38% fall in mining globally CBECI said.
However this was partially offset by a 20% “bounceback” over July and August, “suggesting that some Chinese mining equipment has been successfully redeployed overseas”, researchers said.
China has since declared all Bitcoin transactions illegal – though that occurred after the period covered by the Cambridge research.
Miners earn money by creating new Bitcoins, but the computing power needed to do it consumes large amounts of energy.
They audit Bitcoin transactions in exchange for an opportunity to acquire the digital currency.
Global mining requires enormous computing power, which in turn uses huge amounts of electricity, and consequently contributes significantly to global emissions.
The CBECI, which is produced by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, tracks the geographic distribution of computing power used for mining Bitcoin – receiving data from a number of commercial Bitcoin mining pools.
The latest data, which covers the four months to the end of August, suggests that most Bitcoin mining (35.4%) is now US-based, with Kazakhstan (18.1%) second and Russia (11%) third.