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Bitcoin handed a lifeline as China lets cryptocurrency miners off the hook

China: Death to Bitcoin mining! Long live Bitcoin mining!

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It’s been seven months since China decided it wanted to take steps to curtail Bitcoin BTC mining in the country, but now it’s changed its mind.

Earlier today, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a state economic planning agency, published its finalized recommendations for national industry restructuring — and Bitcoin mining wasn’t mentioned.

CoinDesk reports that the final version of the recommendations, due to take effect from January 1, 2020, has removed Bitcoin or other virtual currency mining activities from the list of industries that should be restricted or eliminated from the country.

The change of heart has reportedly come after months of public consultation on the topic. It’s not entirely surprising that China has changed its tune, given that it dominates the globe in terms of Bitcoin mining hash power.

Back in April, the NDRC published a draft document outlining industries that it thinks should be restricted or eliminated.

Industries that fall into these categories are ones typically seen as wasteful or polluting, or those that are believed to pose safety risks.

Many took this to mean that the country was set on banning Bitcoin mining entirely, however, it’s important to understand the role of the NDRC’s recommendations.

The NDRC serves as a national macroeconomic planning agency. Its recommendations are put in place to help local authorities understand how they should distribute funding to different industries.

According to the NDRC’s website, its core functions are to “formulate and implement strategies of national economic and social development,” and “guide the restructuring of the economic system.”

With that in mind, Bitcoin mining was probably never going to be banned.

The news comes just weeks after China passed a cryptography law, and the country’s president called for the country to seize opportunities in blockchain technology.

China has long favored blockchain over Bitcoin, but maybe it’s easing up on Bitcoin.

Published November 6, 2019 — 09:28 UTC