Chinese underground crypto mining is alive and well, CCAF data suggests

The data from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance indicates that China’s hashrate share is rebounding after dropping to near-zero last year.

The latest data from January 2022 shows that traffic from China accounts for over 20% of the global bitcoin share after falling to zero in July-August 2021. That makes China the second-largest bitcoin mining market, with the US being the first at 37% of hashrate.

The data “strongly suggests that significant underground mining activity has formed in the country,” the CCAF statement reads. “Access to off-grid electricity and geographically scattered small-scale operations are among the major means used by underground miners to hide their operations from authorities and circumvent the ban."

The chart featuring evolution of country hashrate share from September 2019 to January 2022.
Source: Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF)

The drastic drop to 0% indicates that Chinese miners almost instantly switched went underground and started concealing their locations using foreign proxy services. As time passed, miners “have grown more confident and seem content with the protection offered by local proxy services,” the CCAF added.

China officially banned bitcoin mining in May 2021, seeking to meet its clean energy targets and protect the country’s financial system. The crackdown forced many mining farms to relocate, mainly to Kazakhstan and the US. Before the ban, China accounted for 65% of the global hashrate.