The Chinese government has threatened to ban cryptocurrency mining amid fears it is thwarting efforts to curb the country’s pollution crisis.
The proposals were set out in a notice published by China’s economic planning agency earlier this week and are now subject to a public consultation.
China is responsible for the majority of the world’s cryptocurrency mining, which involves huge server farms processing transactions in return for digital coins. The farms have been set up in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia to mine cryptocurrencies using the country’s cheap coal-fired electricity.
But concerns about the environmental cost of the farms appear to have grown in recent months, with a number of reports in state media linking cryptocurrency mining to global warming and pollution.
A report in the Xinhua news wire from October states: “Researchers at University of Hawaii at Manoa found that Bitcoin, if implemented at similar rates at which other common technologies have been incorporated, could produce enough emissions to raise global temperatures by two degrees Celsius as soon as 2033.”
The consultation on the report is open until 7 May.