Norway is considering supporting Sweden’s call for a euro ban on crypto-mining – Mining Bitcoin News
The Government of Norway is considering ways to limit the environmental impact of mining cryptocurrencies and may support Swedish proposals to this end, including a European ban on proof-of-work mining. The European Commission has revealed that it is already working to promote a transition to “more sustainable” protocols.
Extensive use of renewable energy for mining is difficult to justify, says the Norwegian Minister
Authorities in Norway are considering potential policy measures to deal with the effects of crypto-mining on the environment, the country’s minister with responsibility for local administration and regional development has indicated. As part of the review, the Norwegian government intends to examine solutions recently presented by Swedish supervisory authorities and work for common European rules. Minister Bjørn Arild Gram also stated to Euronews Next:
Although crypto mining and its underlying technology may represent some potential benefits in the long run, it is difficult to justify the widespread use of renewable energy today.
Both countries, together with another Nordic nation, Iceland, have in recent years become popular destinations for cryptocurrency miners. The region has abundant renewable energy resources and has relatively low electricity prices. According to Eurostat data for the first half of 2021, Norway offered the cheapest electricity to non-household consumers in the European Economic Area (EES), where over 90% of its energy comes from hydropower production.
Bjørn Gram’s statement comes after the directors of Sweden’s financial services and environmental protection authorities demanded a ban on proof-of-work mining throughout the European Union, after a manifold increase in the energy use of bitcoin miners in the country this year. “Sweden needs the renewable energy that manufacturers of cryptocurrencies target for the climate change of our essential services, and increased use of miners threatens our ability to fulfill the Paris Agreement,” officials warned.
“Overall, we want our renewable energy to be used in a way that creates value and supports the transition to a climate-neutral society,” said Minister Gram. His comments are part of a heated discussion in Norway regarding the use of renewable energy to power digital coinage after Oslo introduced tax breaks for data centers in 2016. The country’s new environment minister Espen Barth Eide has previously expressed concern about Norway becoming “the world’s Bitcoin mine” at the expense of its own power-intensive industry.
European Commission urges crypto-miners to move away from the “Proof-of-Work” concept.
Minister for Regional Development Bjørn Gram has not given any specific details about the regulatory policy that the Norwegian government is currently considering. But if Norway decides to follow in Sweden’s footsteps, it could result in a crackdown on crypto mining that requires significant amounts of energy.
At the same time, the European Commission (EC), which would be responsible for maintaining crypto-regulation in the EU, has acknowledged that it already encourages the crypto-mining industry to “migrate applications” from energy-intensive proof-of-work blockchains to less demanding protocols such as proof-of-stake and hybrid consensus models , revealed Euronews Next. A spokesman for the executive told the publication that the EC was working to promote “more sustainable forms of blockchain technology.”
The Commission, the representative added, has “ambitious emission reduction targets” and promotes the development of less energy-intensive blockchain technologies through the financing of startups and the direct development of a public-sector blockchain network. Although the Paris climate agreement, which is referred to by Swedish regulators, does not prohibit crypto-mining, Brussels is aware of developments in jurisdictions such as China and will discuss the issue with EU member states, the official added.
Do you think that Norway, Sweden and the EU will impose restrictions on energy-intensive crypto-mining? Share your expectations in the comments section below.
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