Blockheads: Mining and the curious case of the digital yuan
Last week was a busy week in China’s blockchain world, particularly in cryptocurrency mining circles. The Battle of Bitmain drags on, while the government of Inner Mongolia is cracking down on the local mining industry. At the end of the week, the digital yuan made an appearance on a banking app, then mysteriously disappeared.
The world of blockchain moves fast, and nowhere does it move faster than China. Here’s what you need to know about China’s block-world for the week of August 24-30.
The curious case of the digital yuan
China Construction Bank, one of China’s “big four,” on Saturday opened its digital yuan e-wallet to the public. The feature was available on the bank’s app, leading to widespread speculation that the central bank’s digital currency was finally ready for public use. Some users even managed to conduct some transactions.
Later on the same day, the feature disappeared with no explanation, leaving users and speculators puzzled about what CCB was doing with the digital renminbi.
The mining debacles
- On Aug. 24, the government of Inner Mongolia announced it had halted discounted electricity pricing to 21 companies, including cryptocurrency mining pools. Among the companies were cryptocurrency equipment manufacturers Bitmain and Ebang’s pools, Coindesk reported. Electricity costs for the mines will rise by one third, the government said. The government of China’s northern autonomous region continues to clamp down on the crypto mining industry, while southwestern Sichuan province pursues a cleanup operation. (Blockchain Real, in Chinese)
- The chairman and legal representative of MicroBT, a bitcoin equipment manufacturer, has reportedly resigned from his position. Yang Zuoxing was arrested in 2019 while he was still at Bitmain over alleged embezzlement. (WuBlockchain)
- Huawei and the local government of Beijing are trialing a blockchain-based directory of the city’s government agencies. (Jintai, in Chinese)
- The Chinese government wants to use blockchain to manage its social welfare system, according to a paper co-authored by the Communist Party and the State Council. (Xinhua, in Chinese)
- China’s “internet of blockchains,” the Blockchain Services Network (BSN), plans to launch support for stablecoins in 2021. Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat currencies. (Cointelegraph)
- The US Department of Justice said Chinese cryptocurrency traders colluded with North Korean hackers to launder $250 million of stolen cryptocurrencies. (US Department of Justice)
In the corporate world
- China’s e-commerce giant JD.com is partnering with UK blockchain startup Everledger and the US Gemological Institute to launch a diamond traceability platform. (Ledger Insights)
Food for thought
- Can China successfully export its consortium chain-focused blockchain industry? Will the BSN be as impactful as promised? Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin answers TechNode’s questions abut China’s blockchain world. (TechNode)