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Why Did China Ban Bitcoin Mining? Here Are The Seven Leading Theories

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One of 2021’s biggest stories was the China ban on Bitcoin mining. On one hand, the news did affect Bitcoin’s price and gave ammunition to the naysayers that think that governments will outlaw Bitcoin. On the other, the network kept working without a hiccup, recovered its hashrate in record time, and gained in decentralization. However, a question remains. Why did China exclude itself from this very lucrative activity in which they were dominating?

As Bitcoin entrepreneur John Carvalho not-so-eloquently put it, “I refuse to believe that China is stupid.” There has to be a reason, even if it’s a simple one. To help our audience solve the puzzle, NewsBTC decided to gather all of our theories in a single post.

China Ban Theory #1:  The Digital Yuan CBDC

This one is as straightforward as it gets. When China started cracking down on miners, NewsBTC reported: “As for the possible reasons, Bitcoin Magazine’s Lucas Nuzzi cites the upcoming Digital Yuan CBDC.” And Nuzzi said, “They’re literally rolling out their own coin (a CBDC) that will enable the mass surveillance and unbanking of dissidents.”

So, did China kill a potential billion-dollar industry just to squash their CBDC’s competition? Is that it?

China Ban Theory #2:  Blackouts

Is China having energy issues? In that same article, we posed another theory:

“In retrospect, we should’ve seen it coming. Only two months ago, following a suspicious blackout, NewsBTC reported:

According to the Beijing Economic and Information Bureau, there were concerns about the energy consumption related to these activities. PengPai quotes Yu Jianing, rotating Chairman of the Blockchain Special Committee of China, to claim that the country’s environmental requirements could lead to crypto mining being more “strictly regulated”. Jianing said this will be “inevitable.”

However, would they be decommissioning small hydropower stations if this was the case?

China Ban Theory #3:  Cleaner Energy Sources

Our report on small hydropower stations’ source was government-regulated media, so take it with a grain of salt. It starts with a claim that clashes heavily with theory #2:

“According to the article, the heyday of private power plants in China was the beginning of the century. Investors built thousands of hydropower stations because they saw them as a constant cash cow. For their part, the regions nearby saw them as a sign of progress and a solution to their energy problems. 

However, with the gradual surplus of electricity in China in recent years, the electricity generated by hydropower stations is often destined to being abandoned (commonly known as “abandonment of electricity”)”

Nevertheless, the main reason for the decommissioning seemed to be repairing the original flow of the rivers. “Hydropower stations have always been one of the important factors restricting the ecology of Sichuan’s rivers,” said Wang Hua, deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Water Resources Department. We went a step further:

“It’s possible that the government is trying to get rid of those plants. That would explain the article’s tone, it seems like it was trying to get investors to stay away from those hydropower stations. In light of this, China’s ban on Bitcoin mining could just be part of an even bigger play. They’re serious and methodically shaking things up over there. 

What could be their end-game? Is China just trying to go carbon neutral and repair the original flow of the rivers? Or is there something else at play here?”

However, something doesn’t add up. In another article about the ban, we highlighted that hydropower energy is clean energy.

“Did China make the mistake of a lifetime by banning Bitcoin mining or do they have a secret plan?

The fact that the electricity for crypto mining in Sichuan came from clean hydropower meant that many thought the province would be a safe haven for Bitcoin miners.”

China Ban Theory #4:  The New China Model

We explored Bloomberg’s theory about a “less founder-driven and more China-centric” model that China was supposedly exploring.

“If China is abandoning the Silicon Valley model, what will it replace it with? Insiders suggest it will be less founder-driven and more China-centric.

Why is China dwarfing its biggest industries and players? Is the “China Model” just concerned with scale? Or is control their focus? Are they cracking down on people and companies with too much power that work on a global scale?”

And even though it wasn’t quite believable, it introduced the concept that China was also cracking down on their biggest tech executives. Maybe this isn’t only about Bitcoin?

BTC price chart for 01/02/2022 on Bitrex | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com

China Ban Theory #5:  Making Bitcoin Hard To Use

This one doesn’t explain the overarching theme of the China ban. It does add color to whatever theory you prefer, though. In an event, Yin Youping, Deputy Director of the Financial Consumer Rights Protection Bureau of the People’s Bank of China, said, “We remind the people once again that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are not legal tender and have no actual value support.” And proceeded to list everything the PBOC was doing to combat cryptocurrency trading.

In the NewsBTC report about it, we said:

“Maybe their plan is simpler than we thought. It’s possible that The People’s Bank of China is just going to make it really really hard for the common citizen to access Bitcoin. And, China’ll use propaganda and repetition to keep people in check and scared of the unknown. One of Bitcoin’s prototipical adversarial scenarios. A battle that Bitcoin expected sooner or later.”

China Ban Theory #6: Preparing For Evergrande’s Default

Was the Chinese government just closing the exits? They knew that the Evergrande situation was inevitable and didn’t want people to have the Bitcoin lifeboat available. In our report, we said:

“To recap: the government saw this coming from a distance. They knew the crisis was going to repeatedly hit the country and banned Bitcoin mining to scare the population into not buying the hardest asset ever created. Bitcoin, the true hedge against the collapse of every economy.”

China Ban Theory #7: FUD To Get More Bitcoin

According to John Carvalho’s wild and full of assumptions theory, China bans something related to Bitcoin every cycle to manipulate the price and get more BTC. The country has no incentive to ban the industry. They make too much money mining, plus they control the ASICs manufacturers, plus mining machines inflate the value of chips, and they control that business too. So, Carvalho’s theory is:

“The main ASIC manufacturer, the Chinese company Bitmain, had a new generation of miners ready. So, the CCP “decided to create a demand for the aftermaket and combine it with the FUD.” As they usually do, they sold their Bitcoin and made their shorts. Then, China banned Bitcoin mining and the whole country turned off the ASICs. The world perceived the ban as real, just “look at the hashrate.” This is the first time this happens. Then, China sold a small portion of its ASICs to the USA.”

According to him, Bitcoin mining in China didn’t stop, they’re just not signing the blocks. Of course, he doesn’t have any proof, and neither do we. This is just a theory, like all the others.

What’s really going on in China? What’s the reason behind the great China ban of 2021? We wouldn’t know for sure, but we have many suspicions. Let’s hope 2022 gives us solid evidence, new insights, or, at least, a plausible explanation.

Featured Image by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay | Charts by TradingView

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Why Gold Is Beating Bitcoin In 2022

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Bitcoin continues to underperform as a general “risk-off” sentiment has investors driving toward gold as a safe haven asset.

Not Risking It

Concerns about the Russo-Ukrainian war continue. The U.S. inflation struggles at a four-decade high and Fed rate hike fears prevail. The uncertainty extends to the world economy as a recession is expected instead of a recovery. The IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva called it “a crisis on top of a crisis.”

“The war is a supply shock that reduces economic output and raises prices. Indeed, we forecast inflation will accelerate to 5.5 percent in advanced economies and to 9.3 percent in emerging European economies excluding Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. ” The IMF stated last week.

Reuters recently quoted Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann, who talked in a note about the factors that have “lent buoyancy to gold in recent days,” mentioning the “strong buying interest on the part of ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) investors” and news about the Ukraine war.

“Russia appears to be preparing to launch a major offensive in the east of the country – that is generating considerable demand for gold as a safe haven,” the analyst said.

This summarizes the “risk-off” sentiment at the moment. As expected, equities suffer as investors are selling risky assets and purchasing the ones negatively correlated to the traditional market. Thus, the crypto space is struggling alongside de stocks market and gold is rising.

Bitcoin Outperformed By Gold

Data from Arcane Research’s latest weekly report notes that it has been a gloomy year for the “digital gold.” In the first three weeks of 2022, Bitcoin sank 25% and it is still down by 18% in the year despite its slight recovery.

Similarly, Nasdaq records a 19% decline in the year, having underperformed against bitcoin “by a small margin,” notes the report, adding that “This is surprising given that bitcoin has tended to follow Nasdaq, albeit with higher volatility.”

The general fear over geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty has given gold the safe-haven asset spotlight once more. The asset outperformed all the other indexes seen below with a 4% gain.

Physical gold outperforming “digital gold” in 2022 | Source: Arcane Research

Meanwhile, the currency market is performing with “the same risk-off patterns.” The Dollar has been proving its “risk-off” dominance as the US Dollar Index (DXY) is up 7%. The Chinese yuan has taken a hit over concerns about the country’s “zero-covid” policy –which creates issues for the global supply chain– and the slowing down Chinese economy. In contrast, investors have been running to the US Dollar for safety.

Bitcoin supporters usually refer to the coin as “digital gold” alleging it is a safe haven asset, and this narrative had held well while BTC had been “uncorrelated with most other major asset classes,” but the tide is shifting with the 2022 scenario as investors are rather placing the coin “into the risk-on basket”.

A previous Arcane Research report indicated that bitcoin’s 30 -day correlation with the Nasdaq is revisiting July 2020 highs while its correlation with gold has reached all-time lows.

A pseudonym traded noted that “As Bitcoin adoption goes on and more institutional investors enter the market, the correlation of BTC and stocks becomes more and more tight. That is a paradigm that the crypto world struggled to come to terms with in the past but is now more real than ever. A healthy stock market is good for Bitcoin.”

Meanwhile, the general sentiment of traders seems to be bearish, with many saying that the coin could visit the $30k level soon.

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Bitcoin trading at $39k in the daily chart | BTCUSD on TradingView.com

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Attendees talk the future of NFTs

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The crypto community headed to Nassau in the Bahamas this week for the inaugural Crypto Bahamas conference.

Like most conferences, panels fill up the agenda and on Wednesday the topics at Crypto Bahamas ranged from NFTs to crypto in sports and to asset allocation in Web3. During one particular conversation, titled Evolution of NFTs: Culture, Utility and Regulation, panelists had some insightful musings on the NFT market.

To put the Crypto Bahamas conference into context, Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in Sept. 2021. It recently inked a multi-year partnership with Anthony Scaramucci’s investment firm SkyBridge Capital, and its events arm SkyBridge Alternatives, or SALT. They jointly presented the conference.

That’s why the NFT panel consisted of multiple perspectives from Tristan Yver, head of strategy at FTX U.S., Joseph Doll, attorney at Fenwick law firm, Roham Gharegozlou, the chief executive officer at Dapper Labs, and Sarah Hammer, the managing director of The Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance at The Wharton School. Zack Guzman, writer for the Meta-owned newsletter platform Bulletin, moderated.

Gharegozlou pointed out how new the NFT market truly is when “most people have only been thinking about it for a year and a half,” making valuations “very immature.” As the CEO of Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot,  Gharegozlou recognized that “utility, rewards and the how you value and NFT is primarily based on the strength of that of the community.”

He added that a good way for an NFT collection to build a strong community is to have multiple tiers of scarcity. In the case of NBA Top Shot, at the higher price end there is extreme scarcity, but there are also millions of “common” moments so that people can “get their first NFT and see how it feels without breaking the bank.” 

Tristan Yver echoed that the current valuation and pricing model for NFTs is based on a collective perception on value based on the amount of people willing to buy an asset for a certain amount. He anticipated a “movement away from this consensus view to a more unique singular view where people buy things that resonate with them rather than what resonates with a larger community.”

Joseph Doll chimed in to say that “communities need to be thoughtful about democratizing access.” There are some “massive” barriers to entry to certain projects, he said, including not being early enough or not having enough capital at the time. He questioned, “That’s not what crypto is about, right? It’s kind of about the exact opposite of that.” Democratization, he suggested, can come in the form of derivative projects at better price points.

Another important point brought up by Yver was the reality of scams, especially on Discord and Twitter. He said that “we need to move past security aspects to be able to really bring in the next large mass of users.” He recommended talking among family and friends or asking a Discord moderator to make sure “you click the right link when minting that NFT” because “wallet security sucks right now.”

Gharegozlou even said that Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, should use Web3 to fix Twitter’s fraud problem, just as Discord should use Web3 authentication and verification as well. “Once NFT’s are the sort of identity bridge across all these different social networks, identity and assets, authenticity, provenance,” then the system can be more resilient he added.

When asked what “main alpha” the audience should bear in mind, Doll said to engage with and be part of these NFT communities even if it’s “scary,” because getting scammed is a “part of the journey.”

Sarah Hammer, who leads the Cypher Accelerator at Wharton business school, said that the school is launching an incubator specifically for NFT projects in partnership with Dapper Labs because the “NFT model is a business model for the future.” She emphasized that the greatest way to grow and innovate in the space is to increase education efforts in order to get more people learning and working together.

Related: Goldman Sachs reportedly eyes FTX alliance with regulatory and public listing assistance

Recently the Bahamian government allowed residents to use digital assets, including the world’s first central bank digital currency, or CBDC, to pay for taxes in 2022.