Torrential rains over the last week have resulted in serious landslides and mudslides in China’s Sichuan province, causing several major cryptocurrency mining facilities to go offline. At least one bitcoin mining facility in Wenchuan County was completely buried by a massive mudslide, just one of hundreds of buildings damaged by the floods. At least 10 people have been killed as a result of the floods, with another 26 believed missing.
Cryptocurrency mining firms have become increasingly common in the largely rural Aba region (officially known as Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture) due to inexpensive hydroelectric power and relatively relaxed government oversight. Many areas in Aba are currently without power as the floods have overwhelmed local power stations, and rising waters have threatened to breach the 132 million gallon reservoir at Longtan power station. As a result, virtually all of the area’s cryptocurrency mining industry has gone offline.
According to a report on Coindesk, the results of the flooding in Aba are even visible on the bitcoin network’s hashrate estimates. The network has averaged 78 exahashes per second since the last difficulty increase, but the hashrate has fallen to 73 exahashes per second since the start of serious flooding on Monday. This loss in hash power correlates to as many as 90,000 top-of-the-line bitcoin mining machines going offline.
The Sichuan region has a long history of deadly landslides, including a 2017 landslide that buried the small village of Xinmo, killing at least 10 people. Rescue and repair efforts in Aba are notoriously difficult and slow, as the area is remote, relatively undeveloped, and extremely mountainous. At least four power stations in Sichuan are currently offline, and at least one of those is flooded. There are no offical estimates for when electrical power will resume in the region, but it will likely be several months before Aba’s many cryptocurrency mining facilities return to full operation.