China’s National Development & Reform Commission Adds Crypto Mining to Outdated Industry

About two dozen cryptocurrency firms have fled the country after PBOC explicitly warned foreign platforms about providing services to its citizens, calling them illegal financial activities.

In less than fifteen days since the People’s Bank of China issued new regulations to crack down even more strongly on the cryptocurrency industry in the country, more than 20 such companies have stopped providing services to users in China or have completely withdrawn from the Chinese market, according to a local report.

On Friday, the National Development and Reform Commission further added virtual currency mining back to its outdated industry category; an action expressed in the PBOC’s notice last month.

The NDRC first started publishing this industry reform catalog in 2005 and grouped industries into three categories to encourage, restrict or eliminate them.

According to the latest draft, crypto mining is an industry that uses outdated production processes and equipment.

Exchanges Shutting

This time the central bank has strengthened its regulations against crypto and explicitly warned foreign platforms about providing services to Chinese citizens, declaring them illegal financial activities.

The campaign has served as a “clearer signal to the cryptocurrency industry that the space for relevant institutions and professionals is being squeezed more and more,” said Su Xiaorui, a senior analyst at research firm Analysys.

Today, Justin Sun’s Poloniex exchange announced that it will cease its operations in mainland China as it cannot comply with the local laws only to inform later that their “last email was wrong.”

In its first email, Poloniex had said that the platform would restrict its operations from 7th October, 4:00 am (UTC), and that it had stopped its registration facilities on 4th October.

Executives Leaving

Leading crypto exchange Binance swiftly stopped registering new mainland Chinese users following PBOC guidelines. Another popular crypto exchange Huobi said it would phase out access to existing Chinese users by this year’s end, and earlier this month, it yet again issued an announcement confirming the details of the withdrawal of users in China.

This week, Huobi COO Zhu Jiawei further announced his exit from the company. Founder and chairman Li Lin clarified in a WeChat post that their COO had already quit in April, but they delayed publicizing the information to avoid negatively impacting the company. Binance’s chief financial officer Zhou Wei also left the company in May.

However, both the exchanges were already forced to move out of China in 2017 when Beijing stopped hosting fiat to crypto transfers. But until this year, Chinese users were still able to access those services through over-the-counter (OTC) services and crypto-to-crypto transactions.

No More Support

Other platforms like TokenPocket, BitMart, and BHEX have also stopped providing their services to Chinese users.

Miners like SparkPool, which is one of the largest Ethereum mining pools and data providers, have all fled China as well. Alibaba has banned the sale of crypto mining equipment, NBMiner, which develops management software for graphics cards, is no longer offering tech support to users in China, and the operator of the Feixiaohao app also ceased its operations in the country.

Even HyperDAO, which offers decentralized financial (DeFi) services, said it would no longer discuss cryptocurrency on Chinese social media and had quit all business on the mainland.

Major data aggregators CoinGecko, CoinMarketCap, and TradingView, are no longer accessible in mainland China either.

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Author: AnTy

VanEck Bitcoin ETF Postponed for the Last Time to Nov 14th As Futures Get the Lead Role

VanEck is one of the dozen companies awaiting an answer from the SEC on approval of physically-backed Bitcoin ETF and has also filed for a futures-backed Bitcoin ETF, which is raising Grayscale’s hackles.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has, yet again, extended the review process of VanEck’s physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) for the final time.

On Wednesday, the US securities regulator posted an extension notice, saying it is designating a longer period, additional 60 days, to review the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust.

This puts the final deadline to get approval or disapproval on the application at November 14, 2021.

The application to list VanEck’s Bitcoin Trust was filed by Cboe BZX Exchange in March this year but continued to postpone making any decision. The commission can take up to 180 days from the filing date to announce its decision, with an additional 60 days permitted if it is deemed “appropriate.”

This time, the notice stated that the Commission finds it appropriate to allocate a longer period to issue its order on the application,

“so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised in the comment letters that have been submitted in connection therewith.”

VanEck is one of 13 companies awaiting an answer from the SEC on approval with other players, including Ark Invest, Valkyrie Investments, One River Asset Management, and SkyBridge Capital.

Coming Soon?

SEC Chair Gary Gensler recently said that the agency is more open to a futures-backed BItcoin ETF as it offers an additional level of security due to being governed by the CME. Also, futures requires investors to put down cash on margin to trade as collateral and, in the case of CME, a minimum of 35% of the amount. Gensler said earlier last month,

“I anticipate that there will be filings with regard to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) under the Investment Company Act (’40 Act). When combined with the other federal securities laws, the ’40 Act provides significant investor protections. Given these important protections, I look forward to the staff’s review of such filings, particularly if those are limited to these CME-traded Bitcoin futures.”

Since Gensler’s comments, at least seven firms, including VanEck and Invesco, have applied to launch Bitcoin futures products.

Industry experts expect a Bitcoin futures ETF to receive SEC approval by October or November.

Grayscale Gives A Warning

This is now raising the largest digital asset manager Grayscale’s hackles. As we reported, CEO Michael Sonnenshein in an interview with CNBC this week, said,

“It would be shortsighted of the SEC to allow a futures-based product into the market before a spot product.”

Grayscale, which has a closed-ended Bitcoin Trust, is also looking to convert its product into an ETF. According to Sonnenshein,

“If a futures-based ETF comes to market without the ability for GBTC to convert to an ETF, it has the potential to harm investors who hold tens of billions of dollars’ worth of GBTC today outright, as well as the investors who have exposure to GBTC inside mutual funds, retirement accounts, and other places.”

While SEC has yet to approve a single crypto ETF in the past 8 years when the first BItcoin ETF was filed by the Winklevoss brothers, Canada has already approved a number of Bitcoin and Ether ETFs.

Canada and North America’s first ETF tracking Bitcoin, Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC), which has $747 million in assets, is now trailing its competitors 3iQ CoinShares Bitcoin ETF (BTCQ) that was launched two months later and has now amassed $1.2 billion (US$946 million) in assets.

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Author: AnTy

Chinese Bitcoin Mining Hub Sichuan Shutting Down Over Two Dozen Operators

Chinese Bitcoin Mining Hub Sichuan Shutting Down Over Two Dozen Operators

While good for the decentralization of bitcoin mining, China shutting down bitcoin mining operations is “not healthy” for the cryptocurrency because it lowers the historic price floor for BTC.

Amidst the ongoing crackdown on crypto trading and mining in China, Bitcoin mining in Sichuan is being shut down.

One after another, mining operations in Sichuan are shutting down due to regulatory pressure, with some miners expecting restrictive policies to be introduced soon, as per local publication Wu Blockchain.

The Sichuan Energy Bureau and the Sichuan Development and Reformation Commission jointly issued a document on Friday to state-owned power generators and distributors ordering them to close down local bitcoin miners.

This measure is expected to impact about 26 mining operators directly.

“What’s messed up is many of the 26 embraced the reg in 2020. Filed their names, paid fees, and allowed to operate in gov-sanctioned hydro consumption parks. Now they get thrown under the bus, while many smaller farms may actually get away by staying under the radar,” said journalist Wolfie Zhao.

In China, Sichuan accounts for the second-largest Bitcoin hash rate share at 9.66%, as of April 2020, after Xinjinag’s 35.76%, according to CBECI.

So far, this has resulted in a decline of 7% in the Ethereum hash rate, while Bitcoin’s hash rate is temporarily not reflecting the effect.

Interestingly, the province is China’s biggest producer of hydropower and offers cheaper electricity tariffs.

“There is a large amount of abandoned hydropower in Sichuan in summer. If it is not used for bit mining, it can only be wasted. The implementation of this policy is currently uncertain,” noted Wu Blockchain.

Sichuan actually sees a lot of activity during the rainy season, which lasts from May to September. Every year, at the end of the rainy season, miners start migrating to other regions.

So, it is possible, another big bitcoin miner exodus out of China may happen.

“The Chinese crackdown on mining is a tragedy for China, a nuisance for Bitcoin, and a windfall for North American Bitcoin miners,” said Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy.

Amidst this, Toronto-based Bitfarms is getting listed on Nasdaq to become the largest publicly traded Bitcoin miner in North America using more than 99% hydroelectric renewable electricity.

While good for the decentralization of bitcoin mining, Charles Edwards of Capriole Investments says China mining FUD is not healthy for Bitcoin because

“It lowers the bitcoin electrical cost, the historic price floor for Bitcoin. This is the price Bitcoin almost never goes below, and it’s been falling.”

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Author: AnTy

YouTube is Reportedly Banning and Censoring Cryptocurrency Video Accounts

  • Nearly a dozen and counting YouTube accounts have had mass amounts of cryptocurrency videos removed.
  • A channel called Sam Smith Truth has been pushing for the removal of the videos on his own platform.

YouTube has been making several changes to their policies lately, and cryptocurrency-focused channels seem to be on the chopping block. A minimum of eight channels confirmed and more news forthcoming, in the wee hours of the morning, have already reported their removal from the YouTube websites, stating that that the content falls under the “harmful and dangerous” policy. Another popular channel, according to Bitcoin.com, stated that YouTube considered their channel to be connected with a “sale of regulated goods.”

There’s plenty of speculation over why YouTube has decided to shut down these crypto channels, as some suggest that a larger purge may happen for channels with smaller followings. So far, the channels that have seemingly been shut down include Chris Dunn, Chico Crypto, The Cryptoverse, Crypto Tips, and BTC Sessions. For Dunn, the majority of the removals on his channel took his crypto content, accounting for about two years of content on the website.

Chico Crypto has a following of about 67,000 subscribers, and he says he’s been banned from sharing for the next week. He also saw multiple videos get pulled by YouTube that covered cryptocurrency content.

The Cryptoverse’s Chris Coney stated that he got an email from YouTube for the ban, while influence Tone Vays remarked that his channel will likely be involve in this removal too.

Crypto Tips creator Heidi has a following of about 55,000 subscribers, and she states that “this new wave of censorship” has come after her as well.

There are many people that believe that this recent action is the result of major censorship of cryptocurrency on the video streaming platform, there are others who are concerned about personal conflicts. An alleged conversation on Telegram was posted by Chico Crypto, showing that a user identifying himself as Sam Smith plans to “keep flagging.”

The user’s description of himself indicates that he focuses on “Fighting back against racist scammars in crypto.” Bitcoin.com attempted to reach out to the user through Telegram to learn more, and the user simply replied that he was responsible for the ban of Chico Crypto “absolutely.”

Bitcoin.com pursued other information from the user, asking about the other channels that have seen bans. The user replied, “Many of them are anti Indians and they spew hate speech.” One his own channel – Sam Smith Truth – the user adds, “YouTube is finally taking a stand against the ‘white population’ of crypto by removing videos and giving strikes. Diversity is a beautiful thing and crypto should welcome all backgrounds.”

To help remedy this clear issue, there are many users who are suggesting a migration to other video platforms that don’t have the same desired to censor their creators, like Steemit, Bitchute, and Flote. It has yet to be made clear of whether there are mass reporting issues against these videos or if YouTube itself is cleaning up the crypto crews.

If the latter is true, it would hardly be the first time that it has been criticized for a controversial ban of users. In June, the New York Times reported on the widespread ban of thousands of videos and channels that supported “bigoted ideologies” on the website. The ban included “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion,” like neo-Nazism and white supremacy. At the time, the ban was set to cover videos that denied that violent events had taken place, like the shooting that took place in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Here is a look at what crypto twitter and Youtubers in the cryptocurrency space are experiencing:

Bitcoin Exchange Guide will continue to update this story about Youtube banning and censoring videos and user’s accounts in the near future.

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Author: Krystle M

Ethereum Developer ConsenSys Shuts Down Operations in India and Philippines

  • In total, the teams in India and the Philippines only accounted for less than a dozen people.
  • The projects for these teams specifically dealt with decentralization and blockchain-based payments.

There are over 30 hubs around the world that are attributed to ConsenSys, the Ethereum blockchain development company. However, as reported by CoinDesk, the company has shut down their operations in both India and the Philippines. The teams were notified by Joe Lubin via email, who stated that the offices would be shut down, and the closure was confirmed by one of the members of the team in India.

This shutdown was part of a series of layoffs that began last year, dropping about 13% of the staff, which was about 1,200 members at the time. Since then, the total number of people employed have dropped down to 1,000 people. The last bull run of the crypto market paved the way for growth for the venture studio, bringing the price of Ethereum tokens up to $1,000. However, the crypto winter forced them to change their priorities and adjust their staff.

Overall, the operations shut down in India and Philippines only accounted for less than a dozen people in total, but their work involved some high-profile projects for the company. In India, the team was working on decentralization for multiple sectors, like healthcare and land titling. The team in the Philippines was focused on a network called Project i2i, using blockchain technology for interbank payments with UnionBank. Presently, the future of these projects is unclear.

Further questions were directed to the main office for ConsenSys in Brooklyn, New York, but CoinDesk reports that there was no comment provided by press time.

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Author: Krystle M