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Coal prices in China have risen over the last month as China continues to block coal carriers from entering Chinese ports—and it's causing more than just residential and industrial energy shortages and blackouts.
China's Bitcoin mining is now under siege.
China is attempting to ration its power, but bitcoin mining's unquenchable thirst for high power use is now being threatened by China's standoff with Australia, frozen wind turbines—and Russia's own short supply of coal—that has left sailors and crew stranded at sea for months.
In fact, Bitcoin miners could end up taking the brunt of the rationing, and China hosts most of the world's top bitcoin miners.
And that makes sense because Bitcoin is extremely electricity-intensive, with just a single transaction consuming the power equivalent of as much as one U.S. household does for 23 days, with the carbon footprint of about 54,563 hours of YouTube video watching.
China's coal shortage and increased load from zealous industrial activity have caused widespread blackouts in the Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, and Guangdong provinces, triggering cities to impose power use restrictions. The South China Morning Post called the nationwide blackouts the "worst in nearly a deacde".
But the bitcoin factor adds another layer of complexity into the mix, and it's garnering media attention because one bitcoin (BTC) is now worth $27,077, with a market value near $500 billion—mining is big business.
While multifaceted, the root cause of China's coal shortage is its embargo of Australian coal imports as the tension between the two nations has turned into a full-blown trade war—although China denies this is the cause of the power outages.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.