Sweden, EU Discussed Bitcoin Proof-of-Work Ban: Report

Documents released by a German site suggest concern about the environmental impact of the crypto mining method.

AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2022 at 11:29 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:28 p.m. UTC

Swedish financial regulators and the European Commission have discussed the possibility of banning the proof-of-work method that underpins bitcoin because of its impact on the environment, according to documents published by netzpolitik.org, a German website.

The revelation comes after lawmakers at the European Parliament came close to passing restrictions on the energy-hungry bitcoin mining method, which some characterized as a bitcoin ban.

Documents apparently released under the EU's freedom-of-information laws show that at a meeting in November, Swedish financial and environmental regulators and the European Commission's digital-policy arm discussed banning trading in crypto assets such as bitcoin that use the proof-of-work technique.

An unnamed attendee said that bitcoin should be encouraged to move toward a more environmentally friendly alternative such as proof-of-stake, as rivals such as Ethereum have done, and didn't "see [the] need to 'protect' the bitcoin community."

Parts of the document have been redacted to protect individual privacy or due to "ongoing decision-making process," suggesting that policy is still being developed on the topic. Swedish officials have previously made it clear that they want to ban proof-of-work for environmental reasons.

A separate document suggested discussions were still ongoing in February and included German environment ministry officials.


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Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

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