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 Apr 10, 2024 at 2:07 a.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.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Jack Schickler

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