A new announcement from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Development and Reform Commission, or DRC, has informed the public that they now have a direct way to report any outlying cryptocurrency operations in the region.
As previously reported, Inner Mongolia was once home to a vast network of crypto mining operators, who collectively accounted for 7.71% of the global Bitcoin network hash rate between September 2019 and April 2020.
As part of Beijing's increasingly proactive, ambitious agenda to reduce carbon emissions, Chinese authorities have increasingly scrutinized the coal-rich region of Inner Mongolia, where plentiful, cheap electricity remains reliant on fossil fuels. According to a Greenpeace report from the end of March, Inner Mongolia approved the highest amount of new capacity for coal-fired power plants between 2016 and 2020 of any DRC in China.
Wednesday's announcement makes it clear that regional authorities are attempting to turn the tide on the energy front, in part by strengthening their crackdown on illegal and energy-intensive crypto mining operations. A dedicated telephone hotline, email and mail service will provide the local public with a reporting method they can use to inform authorities of any suspected crypto mining activity in the region.
The announcement notes that suspected entities may be masquerading as data centers and enjoying preferential policies in tax, land and electricity prices while illicitly engaging in cryptocurrency mining.
The creation of the hotline is just the latest in local authorities' bid to get a handle on residual mining operations in their jurisdiction. In August 2020, officials considered implementing a policy that would prevent crypto miners from using inexpensive, state-subsidized electricity. By March, a proposal was drafted to “comprehensively clean up and shut down virtual currency mining projects” by the end of April. Wednesday's announcement echoes the same wording, indicating that the region is committed to reversing its earlier failures to meet energy-saving targets set by Beijing.