Bitcoin Crackdown Leads To Cheaper Graphics Cards In China

China has been a hub for Bitcoin mining, but that's changing

Graphics cards are instrumental in mining digital currencies.
Graphics cards are instrumental in mining digital currencies.
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

With graphics cards seeming harder to get than ever, China’s stricter measures against Bitcoin mining have led to lower prices online in the country.

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In Yunnan, the country’s fourth-largest Bitcoin-producing province, authorities have been investigating illegal electrical power use tied to Bitcoin mining and are threatening to cut power to those involved in the practice. As SCMP reports, it’s the latest province to join the country’s clampdown on crypto.

In 2020, China made up 65 percent of Bitcoin’s global hash rate.

SCMP now reports that stricter measures towards Bitcoin are driving down the prices of graphics cards in China. Graphics cards aren’t only used for gaming, but for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as they provide the extra computer power needed in the computations necessary to mine digital currencies.

As the Chinese government has been putting the squeeze on crypto, Sichuan province remained a holdout for mining operations. But, as SCMP adds, Sichuan has called for all mining to cease, dashing the hopes of miners to take advantage of the province’s hydropower. Now, miners are apparently looking at moving operations outside China to friendlier areas.

All of this has caused the prices of graphics cards to drop online in China. In May, the Asus RTX 3060 was commanding as much as 13,499 yuan ($2,085), but SCMP reports that prices have dropped to 4,699 yuan ($725).

That’s not the only thing to drop. According to CNN, the value of Bitcoin has dropped in the wake of China’s measures.

For months now in North America it’s been seemingly difficult to get graphics cards for a handful of reasons. Last fall, for example, bots bought up a ton of Nvidia’s RTX 3080 graphics cards. Then, a few months later, forty boxes of said graphics cards, valued at around $340,000, were stolen from a warehouse in China.

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Prices have also been increasing in North America. Earlier this year, Kotaku reported that graphic cards had become more expensive in the US as temporary Chinese tariff waivers lapsed. At that time, there were examples of graphics cards like ASUS’s RTX 3090 jumping from $1,799 to $1,979. Covid-19 and distribution issues also impacted the supply chain, causing a global chip shortage, impacting everything from PS5s to graphics cards.

While it might have been a government bitcoin crackdown that is driving down graphics cards’ prices in China, one retailer in America decided to take things into its own hands, demanding to see customer I.D. and limiting the purchase of graphics cards.

DISCUSSION

By
CAMN

I’m just surprised no hardware company has come up with a better solution for mining, as in a dedicated hardware designed and built for mining. Maybe that would just be faced with import bans from governments, so probably not the best idea.