Bitcoin (BTC) mining has been revealed to be continuing in China’s Sichuan province, despite those working for the operation knowing that Beijing will catch up with them eventually.
Talking to CNBC, a miner going by the name Kirk explained how his operation works and how he stays hidden from the prying eyes of authorities.
Instead of concentrating his mining gear on one site, Kirk has spread it over numerous sites that allow him to evade detection via excessive energy use showing up on the country’s power grid, which is how most other operations get busted.
Kirk has been using various ways to offset his energy needs. He has tapped into local energy sources that aren’t connected to the main grid, including dams, making it harder for authorities to detect any excessive energy use without directly supervising each source of energy in the province.
Kirk told CNBC that he is not really sure what the future holds. “We never know to what extent our government will try to crack down to wipe us out”, he said.
The massive ban has not quenched Chinese appetite for mining cryptocurrencies. In fact, there are as many as 109,000 active crypto mining IPs originating in China, based on research by Qihoo 360, a cybersecurity firm. The majority of these addresses are located in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shandong and Jiangsu.
As such, Kirk seems to have stayed away from the main traffic areas where authorities are probably paying the most attention to any illegal mining operations.
The ban on cryptocurrencies was not all that surprising, given China’s aspirations to become carbon neutral by 2060 and the shortages of power it experienced due to crypto mining operations.
Operator such as Kirk aren’t new to the industry. They were there before the ban on crypto earlier this year. What they did was to quickly move their operations elsewhere, but also bide their time, waiting for the government to stop hammering on doors.
Once the dust settled, organizations such as Kirk’s shifted their mining locations and found ways to stay under the radar.
“They’re everywhere. You won’t find a pattern”, Kirk told CNBC. He does take risks, though, as the two sites he operates in Sichuan are eight and 12 megawatts respectively, and these days, anything above one megawatt in China is considered a risky mining operation.
Operators like Kirk continue to challenge the status quo in Beijing but they also live with the knowledge that they may one day be detected and arrested.