One weekend in late June, hundreds of gloomy Bitcoin miners crowded into a luxury hotel in Western China. They had a big problem: Just weeks earlier, the Chinese government banned cryptocurrency mining over concerns about illicit coal mining and underlying financial risks. Now they had to figure out how to move millions of computers out of the country.
The miners sat in rows of white chairs in a hall at the Gran Melia Chengdu Hotel and listened intently to the executives at Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the world’s largest mining-equipment maker. In between presentations about Texas energy fundamentals and crypto mining in Kazakhstan, the attendees nibbled cupcakes, drank cocktails and discussed the dismal outlook for their local industry.