EU Countries Must Be Ready to Block Crypto Mining, Commission Says

The European Union's executive arm also wants blockchains to show energy-efficiency labels and to end crypto tax breaks.

AccessTimeIconOct 18, 2022 at 1:33 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:18 p.m. UTC
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Members of the European Union must be ready to block crypto mining, the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm responsible for introducing new legislation, said Tuesday as the region prepares for an uncertain winter.

The EU is also developing an energy-efficiency label for blockchains as the disruption of gas supplies from Russia leave some fearing high energy prices, blackouts and shortages.

“In case, there is a need for load shedding in the electricity systems, the [EU] member states must also be ready to stop crypto-assets mining,” the commission said in a document published Tuesday. Load shedding is when energy companies deliberately switch off supply to a certain set of users to avoid the entire grid toppling.

“In the coming months and years, the Commission intends to take various steps to boost digital energy services while ensuring an energy-efficient ICT (information and communication technologies) sector, including … an energy-efficiency label for blockchains,” the commission added.

In the long term, “it is also crucial to put an end to tax breaks and other fiscal measures benefitting crypto miners currently in force in certain member states,” the commission said.

The energy consumption of crypto has increased 900% over five years, reaching around 0.4% of worldwide electricity use, the commission said, promising another report on the topic by 2025 that could recommend further measures to cut crypto's energy use. Europe represents 10% of global proof-of-work mining, it added.

Officials have taken a keen interest the energy consumption of proof-of-work technology that channels computing power to mine new bitcoin. EU lawmakers came close to amending crypto laws to impose what some characterized as a bitcoin ban, while in the U.S., the White House has called for new industry standards.

UPDATE (October 18, 14:45 UTC): Adds figure for European share of international mining.


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Jack Schickler

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

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