Bitcoin mining worldwide has recovered to its peak level before China imposed in May a blanket ban on cryptocurrency trading, mining and related activities. The total hash rate, which measures the bitcoin network’s speed of mining new tokens and verifying transactions, reached an all-time high of nearly 182 million terahashes per second on Friday, surpassing the previous record of 181 million th/s on May 14, before falling back to 178 million th/s on Monday, according to estimates by cryptocurrency service provider Blockchain.com. The hash rate slumped to 85 million th/s in early July after the Financial Stability and Development Committee of China’s State Council, chaired by Vice-Premier Liu He, announced in May a crackdown on bitcoin mining , adding to the nation’s existing clampdown on cryptocurrency trading. Hydropowered bitcoin dreams dry up in Sichuan as province falls in line The price of bitcoin also went on a wild ride, diving to below US$30,000 in July from around US$55,000 in early May, before bouncing back to above US$50,000 in October and peaking at nearly US$67,000 in early November. Bitcoin was trading at an average price of US$46,700 at noon on Tuesday. While the global hash rate has regained strength, its geographical distribution has altered significantly . China was the world’s top location for bitcoin mining as recently as June, when it contributed 34.3 per cent of the global hash rate, down from a peak of 65 per cent in April 2020, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI). By July, China’s share had plunged to zero. The US replaced China as the world’s largest miner with a 35.4 per cent share of the global hash rate in August, followed by Kazakhstan and Russia with 18.1 and 11.2 per cent, respectively, according to CBECI. The shift coincides with a scramble by China-based mining farms to move to North America and Central Asia after Beijing kicked off its latest crackdown, but some companies said their relocation plans had begun even earlier. Atlas, a Singapore-headquartered company with mining operations, started to expand its farms outside China in late 2019 as it “recognised the need to operate with a stable and cleaner energy supply, as well as to diversify our hash rate,” said Chris Haag, the company’s US-based chief operating officer. “We chose Kazakhstan and the US given their open arms to the sector and we continue today to explore expansion in Canada and Northern Europe to further diversify our global footprint,” Haag said. Relocating to the US, primarily to Austin, Texas, has cost the firm “millions of dollars” involving “thousands of machines”, Haag said, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed the process.