China retains mining control? Alipay’s ancient NFTs and Amber’s big raise
This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.
So low you’ve got to reach up to touch the bottom
This week in China felt like one giant mining-farm sized pile of FUD. This is usually a pretty good indication that a bottom is close to being in, but one can never be too sure when it comes to downwards volatility in cryptocurrency. Canaan, one of the largest mining companies in China, announced it was setting up shop in neighboring Kazakhstan. This is an ideal compromise for Canaan as it can remain close to China, while mitigating their regulatory risk. Reading between the lines, it seems like the plan is to mostly continue administration of the company from China while sending the machines overseas.
This would put a wrench in the works of the Bitcoin purists who believe that the crackdowns are a good way to break up China’s dominance in the mining industry. Just this week, a professor at a university in Singapore wrote in Chinese that the shift to a more decentralized network would be a good thing. This raised some eyebrows for the use of a made up word that translates roughly to ‘de-China-ization’, but the article holds even less weight when large mining companies like Canaan are able to shift physical equipment overseas but still remain in control of the governance.
Too big for postage stamps
On June 21, CNBC’s Beijing Bureau Chief Eunice Yoon posted on Twitter that a logistics company in Guangzhou was shipping 3,000 kilograms worth of mining hardware to Maryland, US. According to her claim, the price was $9.37 per kilogram. Some quick math reveals that the total cost would be less than the price of one Bitcoin, at least at the time of writing.
Bitmain lends a helping hand
Cointelegraph reported on June 23 that massive mining company Bitmain was suspending sales of mining hardware in a move to support the over-supplied secondhand markets. According to the article, sales of hashing power in China has seen a decrease of around 75% since the Spring. Bitmain is reportedly moving operations abroad as well, which would be a major move for the hardware manufacturing giant.
Francis Suarez, everyone’s favorite Bitcoin-friendly mayor, was at it again on June 18 when he announced that all Chinese Bitcoin miners were welcome in Miami. The announcement was translated and posted on Sina Finance’s Blockchain Weibo account, which attracted over 53 comments from surprised netizens. Most of these user comments were negative in nature however, both towards Suarez and Bitcoin in general. A large portion of Weibo users hold cryptocurrencies in ill-regard, especially those that have been investing in the stagnant Chinese stock market.
Amber is the color of your energy
Amber, a cryptocurrency service provider based in Hong Kong, completed a Series B funding round worth $100m. Amber is well known among institutions for their financial services that include asset management, OTC services and lending.
Alipay’s foray into NFTs
Top payment processor Alipay continues to push its AntChain technology by partnering with the Dunhuang Research Academy to release 8,000 NFT skins. Dunhuang is famous for being an old silk road outpost and is home to Mogao Caves, a Unesco Heritage site. The NFTs featured artwork inspired by the cultural site and quickly sold out. AntChain is a private blockchain developed by Alibaba’s Ant Group.