Bitcoin, Ether, and most other crypto tokens tumbled to their lowest levels in more than a week Monday morning amid a continued crackdown on cryptocurrency miners by China, as the PBOC, China's central bank, requested a meeting with Alipay and several local banks over providing services to crypto traders.
As of 1400 ET, BTC was trading around $32,292, a plunge of more than 9% over the past 24 hours and a halving since its all-time high of nearly $65,000 in mid-April.
The continuing crackdown on crypto and mining in China has sent shockwaves worldwide - most of them are bad for the crypto community as miners may have to relocate. But there may be a near-term silver lining, as the most critical component in mining operations, graphics cards, saw prices plunge from record highs - at least for those fortunate enough to score one from retailers at MSRP.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), retail prices for various Nvidia cards used by miners have been falling. For example, Nvidia Quadro P1000 model graphics cards were going for 2,429 yuan (US$376), down from 3,000 yuan ($464) in early May, before China started cracking down on crypto mining.
A more popular card for miners, the Asus RTX3060, was down 4,699 yuan ($726) from its peak of 13,499 yuan ($2087) on JD.com.
All price changes above were tracked by e-commerce firm Manmanbuy.
That said, whether the current dip in retail prices will translate to actual availability - particularly in the US, where scalpers use automated scrapers to identify and snap up cards as they become available and flip them on Ebay and other forums for huge premiums - has yet to be seen. Meanwhile, NVidia CEO Jensen Huang has warned that RTX 3XXX series cards will be difficult to buy through the end of the year. So until the silicon shortage is remedied, and Ethereum jumps from POW (mining with GPUs) to POS (not mining with GPUs), demand for Nvidia GPUs is unlikely to abate - allowing scalpers to keep doing their thing.
A graphics card mining rig is a special computer put together for the sole purpose of mining cryptocurrencies.
Graphics Card Prices in 🇩🇪🇦🇹 June 20, 2021— 3DCenter.org (@3DCenter_org) June 21, 2021
AMD: No major changes.
nVidia: Availability goes up greatly. Prices go down again, from average +133% best price over MSRP (end of May) to now +91%.
Still a long way to go.https://t.co/qstKFcg8ls pic.twitter.com/obcyAM7D5Z
We noted earlier that authorities in the Chinese city of Ya'an had promised to root out all bitcoin and ether mining operations in the area - known for its cheap hydroelectric power - in the coming months.
... and couple this with PBOC's statements about Alipay, ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China, and Industrial Bank over providing services to virtual currency trading - the makings of a reversal in graphics card prices seems to be underway.
But keep in mind, prices are still sky-high from a pre-COVID level as the ability to procure high-end graphics cards has become more challenging due to supply chain disruptions.