In context: Sichuan was previously China's second largest haven for cryptocurrency mining operations, but it's quickly turning into the opposite, as authorities seek to crack down on this type of activity. The region, along with other mining centers such as Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, and Xinjiang have already shut down some of the largest cryptomining farms in China, which is good news for both cryptocurrency enthusiasts and gamers.
One key factor contributing to the shortage of graphics cards is cryptocurrency mining. In our latest CPU & GPU availability and pricing update for June 2021, Tim explains how Ethereum mining in particular has become less profitable due to a combination of factors, and how that's started to impact average prices for GPUs, which is now trending downwards after seeing record prices in May.
Last week, Asrock said graphics card prices would soon fall amid a plunge in demand from miners in China, while shipments of AMD cards are expected to improve significantly thanks to improvements in silicon fab capacity. This is now confirmed by a report from the South China Morning Post that shines more light into the state of cryptomining in the region.
In the last several months, Chinese authorities have brought the hammer down on mining activities across the country, which is why several big operations have been moving towards the Americas. According to a logistics firm in Guangzhou, no less than 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg) of mining hardware is being flown across the ocean to Maryland, US. Others are also eyeing Texas for its abundance of solar and wind power, as well as crypto-friendly policies.
Over the past week, China's crackdown on cryptomining operations has expanded to the Sichuan province, where cheap hydropower had been a magnet for mining farms. Local authorities have told electricity providers to investigate their clients who could be using power for mining, and 26 operations have had the plug pulled on mining farms over the weekend.
Must read: What is cryptomining?
This may only be the beginning, however, as China's Central Bank has asked Chinese banks and payment processors such as Alipay to avoid participating in the crypto sphere in any way, from opening accounts to facilitating transactions and settlements with cryptocurrencies.
GPU prices in China have seen a sharp drop over the last few days, with the average retail price for models such as the Asus RTX 3060 going from 13,499 yuan ($2,090) to 4,699 yuan ($730). Even professional, workstation graphics cards like the Nvidia Quadro P1000 went from 3,000 yuan ($464) to 2,429 yuan ($376). This trend is not as pronounced in other regions, but it's great news for gamers everywhere.