In China’s Hinterlands, Workers Mine Bitcoin for a Digital Fortune

China has mixed feelings about Bitcoin.

On one hand, the government worries that Bitcoin will allow Chinese people to bypass its strict limits on how much money they can send abroad, and could also be used to commit crimes. Chinese officials are moving to close Bitcoin exchanges, where the currency is bought and sold, though they have not set a time frame. While that would not affect Bitcoin manufacturing directly, it would make buying and selling Bitcoin more expensive in one of its major markets, potentially hurting prices.

On the other hand, the digital currency may represent an opportunity for China to push into new technologies, a motivation behind its extensive push into other cutting-edge areas, like driverless cars and artificial intelligence. China continues to offer Bitcoin makers like Bitmain cheap electricity — making Bitcoin requires immense amounts of power — and other inducements.

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