China’s Zhejiang province seizes hundreds of state-owned enterprises for cryptocurrency mining

According to a Tuesday article published on the website of China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the country’s anti-corruption watchdog, an internet authority in East China’s Zhejiang province identified 4,699 IP addresses in the province that were involved in cryptocurrency mining in July. Of those, 183 addresses were associated with 78 state-owned entities.

In September, Zhejiang authorities created four joint inspection teams to conduct random raids on 20 state-owned firms with 36 IP addresses. On-site investigations revealed that 14 of the entities were mining cryptocurrency.

Additionally, the inspections discovered that 34 state-owned companies initiated crypto mining, while 32 entities were compelled to mine due to Trojan infections on their computers or internet devices, according to the CCDI report.

Following that, the local authorities shut down 68 mining machines that were mining 12 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ether, and fined 48 individuals — 21 of whom worked for state-owned entities or Communist Party agencies — who were found to have mined cryptocurrency using public resources.

Zhejiang is not the only province where state-owned enterprises have been caught for crypto mining operations. In early October, Jiangsu province’s communication watchdog detected 4,502 IP addresses in the province engaged in crypto mining, with 21% of them belonging to state-owned entities.

In November, Wei Meng, a spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, said at a press conference that authorities will concentrate their efforts on industrial-centered mining activities and those conducted by state-owned businesses. If authorities discover a company that has engaged in cryptocurrency mining, it may face punitive electricity costs for future operations. Meanwhile, Hainan province in south China has revealed plans to hike power tariffs for anyone who engaged in crypto mining operations in December.

Since early this year, China has been vigorously cracking down on cryptocurrency mining. On Sept. 24, the NDRC announced a statewide crypto mining ban in collaboration with ten other entities.

Even still, it seemed as if some miners continued to operate in secret in China. In November, a Chinese cybersecurity firm, Qihoo 360, reported detecting an average of 109,000 active crypto mining IP addresses every day.

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