The Norwegian government is considering ways to limit the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining and may support Swedish proposals to do so, 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.
Heavy use of renewable energy for mining is hard to justify, Norwegian minister says
Norwegian authorities are considering potential policy measures to address the effects of crypto mining on the environment, the country’s minister responsible for local government and regional development said. As part of the review, the Norwegian government intends to study the solutions recently proposed by Swedish regulators and work for common European rules. Speaking to Euronews Next, Minister Bjørn Arild Gram also said:
While crypto mining and its underlying technology may represent some possible long-term benefits, it is difficult to justify the heavy use of renewables today.
Both countries, along with another Nordic country, Iceland, have in recent years become popular destinations for cryptocurrency miners. The region has abundant renewable energy resources and maintains relatively low electricity prices. According to Eurostat data for the first half of 2021, Norway offered the cheapest electricity to non-domestic consumers in the European Economic Area (EEA), with more than 90% of its energy coming from power generation hydroelectric.
Bjørn Gram’s statement comes after heads of Swedish financial services and environmental protection agencies called for a ban on the extraction of proof of work in the European Union, after an increase in energy consumption by bitcoin miners in the country this year. “Sweden needs the renewable energy targeted by the producers of crypto assets for the climate transition of our essential services, and the increased use by miners threatens our ability to meet the Paris Agreement,” warned them. responsible.
“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 coin minting after Oslo introduced tax breaks for data centers in 2016. The new Environment Minister of the country, Espen Barth Eide, has in the past expressed concerns about Norway. become the “global Bitcoin mine” at the expense of its own energy-intensive industries.
European Commission urges crypto miners to move away from proof of work concept
Regional Development Minister Bjørn Gram did not provide any specific details regarding the regulatory policies the Norwegian government is currently considering. But if Norway decides to follow in Sweden’s footsteps, it could lead to a crackdown on crypto mining operations that require significant amounts of energy.
Meanwhile, the European Commission (EC), which is said to be responsible for enforcing crypto regulations in the EU, has admitted that it is already encouraging the crypto mining industry to ‘migrate applications’ from proof of work blockchains. energy-intensive to less demanding protocols. such as hybrid proof of stake and consensus models, Euronews Next revealed. A spokesperson for the executive body told the publication that the EC is working to promote “more sustainable forms of blockchain technology.”
The Commission, the representative added, has “ambitious emission reduction targets” and is promoting the advancement of less energy-consuming blockchain technologies through funding for startups and the direct development of a public sector blockchain network. Although the Paris Climate Agreement, mentioned by Swedish regulators, does not ban crypto mining, Brussels is aware of developments in jurisdictions like China and will discuss the matter with member states of the. EU, the official added.
Do you think Norway, Sweden and the EU will impose restrictions on energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining? Share your expectations in the comments section below.
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