In the summer of 2021, the Chinese government banned Bitcoin (BTC) mining and cited the typical concerns of harmful environmental effects and money laundering. Now, the Chinese government is working toward establishing its own digital yuan currency. This raises the question as to whether the original reasoning was merely a Trojan horse.
This ban could easily have been a huge blow to Bitcoin’s momentum. After all, close to 75% of all Bitcoin mining had been conducted in China by late 2019, according to Cambridge Alternative Finance Benchmarks. If the network teetered under the weight of China’s nationwide ban, other governments might have begun to think that Bitcoin could be defeated after all.
China’s ban was Bitcoin’s stress test
For a brief period, the ban worked as intended — by the end of June 2021, the Bitcoin network’s hash rate had dropped to 57.47 exahashes per second (EH/s), down by a few multiples. However, the hash rate rebounded to 193.64 EH/s by December 2021 and by February 2022, it reached an all-time high of 248.11 EH/s.
The entire ordeal was a test that Bitcoin passed with flying colors: Banning Bitcoin mining proved as effective as the Prohibition era was at killing drinking culture in the United States.
In early 2022, the obvious explanation for the hash rate recovery was that miners who had set up shop in China had simply fled to the Western Hemisphere. There was plenty of evidence that seemed to support this hypothesis — primarily that the United States’ share of the global hash rate exploded from 4.1% in late 2019 to 35.4% in August 2021.