EU regulator calls to ban Bitcoin mining’s proof of work to save renewable energy

EuroNews.next | Tom Bateman| Jan 19, 2022

The European Union should ban the energy-intensive system used to mine Bitcoin, one of the bloc’s leading financial regulators has said.

In an interview with the Financial Times, vice-chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Erik Thedéen called for a bloc-wide ban on “proof of work” crypto mining, saying the industry’s energy usage was becoming a “national issue” in his native Sweden.

“Bitcoin is now a national issue for Sweden because of the amount of renewable energy devoted to mining,” Thedéen told the FT.  “It would be an irony if the wind power generated on Sweden’s long coastline would be devoted to Bitcoin mining,” he added.

Bitcoin now consumes 0.6 per cent of the world’s electricity, according to figures from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.

In the interview published on Wednesday, the Swedish regulator emphasised that he was not calling for a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies, but rather that he was trying to promote a “discussion about shifting the industry to a more efficient technology”.

“The solution is to ban proof of work,” he said.

See: Senator Ted Cruz agrees that Bitcoin miners say they’re helping to fix the broken Texas electric grid

One potential avenue to explore could be a move to “proof of stake” mining, Thedéen told the newspaper.

Energy concerns

Rising concerns over the growing energy consumption of the crypto mining industry have already prompted governments to take action. Earlier this month, Kosovo banned crypto currency mining in an effort to tackle the country’s worst energy shortage in a decade.

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