Bitcoin Hashrate Might Decline Impacted by Coronavirus Controls

The coronavirus controls and possibly extended outbreak are taking a toll on bitcoin mining farms in China where an estimated 65% of global bitcoin hashrate is located.

Jiang Zhuo’er, founder of mining pool BTC.Top, posted a weibo (Tweet equivalent in China) on February 4, complaining that one of his mining farms in remote rural area in Xinjiang had been forced to shut down by local police as quarantine controls became stricter these days.

“It is understandable to take our employees’ temperatures, call the roll and forbid them to go out, but what could shutdown of mining machines help in quarantine controls? If we go on like this, most of the people (especially the laboring people in the front line) will have to die of poverty without suffering from the virus,” said Jiang angrily.

The weibo has been viewed more than 150,000 times and received over 300 comments, indicating that the bitcoin mining industry is paying close attention to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the industry.

As it moves into February, the outbreak of the new coronavirus shows no signs of abating with confirmed infections increasing. As a result, the country’s quarantine controls have been further tightened with not only cities but rural villages under lockdown.

Prior to it, bitcoin miners assumed that mining farms which is usually located in remote areas and did not require large-scale personnel could remain intact amid the outbreak as long as they had electricity and access to the Internet.

However, they might be unable to maintain operations for their existing farms, but there’s also delays in constructing new farms. Employees who went home for the Chinese New Year cannot return to the mining sites until they finish a two-week quarantine. Understaffed, mining farm construction is halted and new mining machines cannot be started but lying in the warehouse.

Jiang told 8btc that what he encountered was an isolated case in which only one of his dozens of mines had been shut down, but he did not rule out the possibility that other mines might also be forced to cease operation.

Miner Xu, who operates mining farms in Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia (all bitcoin mining concentration places in China), said that his mines are currently under normal operations, but over 10,000 units of mining machines cannot hit the shelves and a 100,000 kilowatt mining farm under construction is halted as electricians cannot get into the mining sites and equipments like transformers cannot be supplied.

In April or May, wet season will restart in Sichuan and Yunnan, mountainous provinces in southwestern China when numerous bitcoin mining rigs will be deployed to take advantage of the abundant and cheap hydroelectric energy there. While the outbreak has completely disrupted these miners’ deployment, as they usually relocate their mining rigs from northwest China to the south or build new mining farms months before the arrival of the wet season.

According to BitInfoCharts, Bitcoin hashrate has not been influenced by the outbreak, still hovering above 110EH/s in the past few days. While miners like Xu and mining machine manufacturers believe bitcoin hashrate may decline if the coronavirus controls continue.

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