Chinese Bitcoin Miners Set Sights on Ethiopia’s Hydropower Resources

Table of Contents

  • From China To Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia’s Allure: Cheap Power, Regulatory Flexibility 
  • Challenges Involved

Chinese Bitcoin miners, once dominant in the global mining landscape, are now finding refuge in Ethiopia as they seek affordable electricity and more favorable regulatory environments.

From China To Ethiopia

Amidst a whirlwind of regulatory changes in their homeland, Chinese Bitcoin miners have embarked on a journey to Ethiopia, lured by its promise of abundant hydropower and friendly regulations. 

Once hailed as global leaders in the mining realm, these miners found themselves ousted from China due to stringent regulations in 2021. China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining in 2021 sent shockwaves through the country, prompting a mass exodus of miners from the country and pushing them to explore alternative locations. Their quest for greener pastures led them to the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia’s Allure: Cheap Power, Regulatory Flexibility 

Ethiopia has emerged as an attractive destination for these miners due to its low electricity costs and the government’s welcoming stance toward mining activities despite a ban on cryptocurrency trading.

With hydropower accounting for 92% of its electricity grid, Ethiopia boasts one of the cheapest power sources globally. The power supply experienced a significant boost following the activation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s plant and is anticipated to double upon reaching full capacity. 

Additionally, Ethiopia’s moderate climate helps in lowering cooling expenses, presenting a favorable contrast to hotter locations such as Texas, which currently holds the title of the United States’ primary mining hub.

Chinese companies have wasted no time tapping into Ethiopia’s mining potential, with a significant portion of firms partnering with the country’s power monopoly hailing from China. This influx of investment underscores Ethiopia’s emergence as a hotspot for crypto mining activities.

Challenges Involved

The entry of Bitcoin miners into Ethiopia is not without risks. The volatile nature of the crypto industry, coupled with political and economic uncertainties, poses challenges for both the companies and the host nation.

Concerns persist regarding the environmental impact of crypto mining and its potential strain on Ethiopia’s power supply. Regulatory frameworks are still in development, leaving miners uncertain about long-term oversight and compliance.

Some miners resort to disguising their operations to bypass regulations and secure electricity without official approvals, a strategy that comes with risks, as seen in other countries like Iran and Kazakhstan.

The migration of Chinese Bitcoin miners to Ethiopia reflects the global trend of miners seeking cost-efficient and regulatory-friendly environments amid increasing concerns over environmental sustainability and regulatory uncertainties. 

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2024-02-13 18:06