No, China isn't soliciting public opinion on whether to drop its bitcoin mining ban
October 25, 2021, 11:53AM EDT · 2 min read
China published a draft proposal relating to crypto mining last week — but the government is not soliciting public opinions to unban crypto mining, despite reports from media outlets and info shared on social media.
China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), one of the central government agencies, published a notice last Thursday that it plans to revise the existing Catalogue for Guiding Industrial Restructuring (Version 2019).
The proposed revision had one and only one item: adding "crypto mining" to a list of industries that should be phased out. The NDRC said the public will have until November 21 to provide feedback if they are interested.
Since the government's release, multiple crypto media outlets wrote reports that suggested it was a sign that China could be reversing its stance on crypto mining amid Bitcoin's recent price rally — a bit of misinformation, if not an outright falsehood.
Here's the context
Yes, public consultations do result in changes, from time to time, to proposed policies within China.
During the 2019 Catalogue update, for instance, the NDRC initially proposed to add crypto mining, along with many others, to the list of industries that should be phased out. It met pushback from the crypto industry and the NDRC eventually removed crypto mining in the finalized version released later that year.
But public consultation could also be just a formality. When the Inner Mongolia DRC issued a proposal in May for specific measures to crack down on Bitcoin mining firms, it only had a public consultation period for seven days, instead of the usual one-month length.
What makes the difference in the latest revision is that the NDRC already clearly stated its intention a month ago.
Following the crackdown directives from the State Council during the summer, the NDRC said on September 24 that it will once again revise the 2019 Catalogue to add crypto mining to the list of industries that should be eliminated. The commissioner didn't formally print an update until a month later.
The NDRC published its first Catalogue in 2005 and has been periodically updating it since then. The most recent one was released in 2019.
Its purpose is to keep the public up to date on industries that the country wants to encourage, retain or eliminate so that provincial and municipal governments can take subsequent action.
Any periodic revision will go through public consultation before a final version is released. As a result, anyone who opposes the crypto mining crackdown orders from this past summer can voice their opinions — but it's highly unlikely such input will influence the decision-making process.
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