The vice president of the People’s Bank of China said that cryptocurrencies are an “alternative investment” and that the central bank is trying to determine the best way to regulate them. Crypto mines in Xinjiang were closed down last week. Pilots for the digital yuan are ongoing, and Shanghai will soon get its first large-scale test. Bitmain teased its new Ethereum ASIC.

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The world of blockchain moves fast, and nowhere does it move faster than China. Here’s what you need to know about China’s block-world in the week of April 14 – 20.

PBOC on crypto

China’s central bank is “studying” to determine the correct regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies to be used as investment tools, Li Bo, newly appointed (in Chinese) vice president of the People’s Bank of China, said at the Boao Forum on April 18. The vice president said that crypto will be an important alternative investment tool in the future, but shouldn’t be used as currency. Li added that if stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency pegged to fiat currencies, are to become widely used payment tools, strict regulation is necessary. (Wu Blockchain, in Chinese)

Mining blackout in Xinjiang

Cryptocurrency mines in Xinjiang were shut down on Friday for safety inspections, causing the hashrate of popular mining pools to fall more than 20%. The price of Bitcoin fell by around $3,000 on the day. The inspections follow a spate of accidents at coal plants in Shanxi and Guizhou provinces as well as the Xinjiang autonomous region in late March and early April, which also slowed the global Bitcoin hashrate. (CoinTelegraph, CoinDesk)

The digital yuan

  • Southern China’s Hainan province has started its own digital RMB pilot. This weekend, the e-CNY was in use throughout venues related to the Boao Forum, a gathering of international financial experts held in Boao on the eastern coast of the island province. (Hainan Daily)
  • Shanghai and Suzhou in eastern China will collaborate on a cross-province digital yuan trial during a shopping festival which starts on May 4. It will be Shanghai’s first large-scale trial compared with earlier pilots which limited transactions to department stores and a single hospital. (Shanghai Securities Journal)

READ MORE: CHINA VOICES | DCEP class is in session, with Zhou Xiaochuan

Bitmain demand

  • Bitmain announced that its newest Ethereum ASIC mining machine is coming soon, but didn’t release details on the machine’s specifications. Ethereum mining is booming, and Bitmain’s last Ethereum-specific rig was released in 2018. The firm said the Antminer E9 will be a “game changer.” Digital asset media outlet The Block calculated that the new rig could outperform rivals by three times. (The Block)
  • Bitmain said that orders for its Antminer S19j Pro are sold out for the rest of the year. (Wu Blockchain Twitter)
  • Taoping Inc, a Shenzhen-based Nasdaq-listed smart display screen company, ordered $24 million worth of Bitmain’s S19j Pro. (Taoping statement)

Filecoin, ‘the trend of future storage’

  • Tech consortium IPFSUnion announced plans to build China’s largest Filecoin mining center at an industrial park in eastern China’s Jiangxi province. Microsoft, Alibaba, SAP, Huawei, SNDA, Giant Network, and AMD are members of the consortium. The investment reportedly totals $1.3 billion. (IPFSUnion announcement)

Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.