The impossible to find NVIDIA RTX 3000 series GPU is now appearing everywhere across Chinese marketplaces.
Why is it happening? It is a reaction to China’s most severe cryptocurrency crackdown to date:
And this is not the first time the Chinese government has taken a sledgehammer to cryptocurrency mining operations.
China’s Previous Crackdown
The last time the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) came down this hard on digital cryptocurrency was September 2017:
What happened? Chinese authorities banned ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) in a bid to protect investors.
The New Crackdown
This time, the CCP is shutting down not only the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges but tightening the noose around cryptocurrency miners:
Why is it happening? The Chinese authorities have cited environmental concerns. Pointing to China’s carbon neutrality policy which was announced by President Xi at the end of 2020.
Why is this relevant? Amazingly, 57% of the nation’s energy came from coal power plants before this policy came into effect:
And as part of that carbon policy, China had already started shutting down coal power plants throughout the country. And this reduction was straining China’s energy grid.
Therefore, energy-hungry crypto mining operations were targeted and shut down.
NVIDIA’s RTX 3000 Series
So, what does this have to do with the GPU scarcity that has been looming over NIVIDIA’s latest RTX lineup?
The RTX 3000 series came out when prices of cryptocurrency were going through the roof. So crypto miners started buying all the new RTX powerhouses en masse to start mining operations in countries with cheap energy.
(China at the time).
It got even worse when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with global supply chains crippled, scalpers used bots to quickly buy up the supply as soon as it would hit stores:
And the reason this cryptocurrency crackdown will impact the global NVIDIA 3000 series market is because of the scale of Chinese mining operations. As of 2019, Chinese Bitcoin miners controlled two-thirds of all the crypto network processing power (which means they had two-thirds of the hardware).
The Impact On Price
The Chinese government started its crackdown in June 2021, causing price drops of cryptocurrencies all over the globe:
With the crackdown looming and decreasing prices of cryptocurrency, Chinese miners started to cut their losses. This led to a mass exodus of miners trying to get a return on investment by selling their hardware.
One by one, Chinese miners have started dumping hordes of GPUs on Xianyu, one of the largest marketplace applications for secondhand goods in China.
And gamers are rejoicing as they see cards like the RTX 3060 being listed on Xianyu for as little as $270, this is almost half the MSRP of an RTX3060.
The Impact Of Quality
But this good news does come with a catch. These cards have likely been used for months in mining operations running at maximum power:
These types of run times can really take a toll on things like the bearings of GPU fans and other components of the cards. So, purchasing these cards might be a little risky.
However, due to this overall decrease in demand for high-end cards (the cryptocurrency crackdown), and with supply chains reaching full power once again, it is likely consumers will be able to find NVIDIA 3000 series GPUs easily and more cheaply going forwards.