Climate measures: Behind closed doors, EU officials talk about banning Bitcoin
If you are interested in how, when, and why they will continue to come for Bitcoin any way they can, listen to this roadmap for 4 minutes:
If Ethereum is able to shift, we could legitimately request the same from BTC. We need to “protect” other crypto coins that are sustainable. Don’t see need to “protect” the bitcoin community
For its fans, Bitcoin is the money of the future and the basis of a new economic system: digital and without central control. Anyone who wants to can join in. That’s because the network that runs Bitcoin is decentralized and runs on thousands of devices around the world. All it needs is an Internet connection, a computer, and electricity.
But it is precisely the latter, Bitcoin’s hunger for energy, that is becoming a global problem. Instead of ordinary computers, crypto miners are using specialized high-performance devices, so-called ASICs. These are necessary to solve the complicated cryptographic problems that Bitcoin uses to protect itself against manipulation.
Critics consider this the currency’s Achilles‘ heel. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that Bitcoin is „extremely inefficient“ and consumes „staggering“ amounts of electricity.
Amid the Ukraine war and rising energy prices, this criticism seems pressing. While Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, wants to switch to the much more frugal proof-of-stake method, such a switch is unlikely for Bitcoin. That’s because the decentralized structure that makes Bitcoin attractive to its fans makes updates nearly impossible.
Bitcoin consumes around 130 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, researchers at the University of Cambridge estimate in their Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. They expect that figure to rise. By comparison, the whole of Germany consumed around 488 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2020. Even though this is only a rough estimate, few experts doubt that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies consume immense amounts of electricity.
Warnings that crypto could become a driver of climate change are causing unease among officials in Berlin and Brussels. Behind closed doors, the European Commission and the German government are considering a ban on bitcoin mining and trading in the cryptocurrency, according to documents unearthed by netzpolitik.org.
REPORT: Demonize for being dirty, then remove the ability to use renewables
No one can say for sure where in the world bitcoin mining is taking place. China, where until last year many Bitcoin facilities were powered by electricity from coal-fired power plants, has banned cryptocurrencies across the board.
Since then, new Bitcoin data centers have been popping up in other parts of the world, most notably in the United States. Mining farms next to oil wells in Texas or in decommissioned coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania, for example, made headlines. Such reports raise fears that a large portion of Bitcoin’s power needs will be met from fossil fuel sources.
“No need to protect the bitcoin community“
European regulators have two tools at their disposal to curb Bitcoin’s hunger for electricity. One is to ban EU-wide mining of cryptocurrencies that use proof-of-work. However, the effect would be limited: Since hardly any mining happens in EU countries, this would have „almost no direct effect on the global mining industry – and thus the energy consumption“ of Bitcoin, says Michel Rauchs, who is a researcher at Cambridge University.
Email Thread Excerpt…
A ban would therefore have to hit not only mining but also Bitcoin trading. Cryptocurrencies that use proof-of-work would then – as in China – be more or less outlawed in the EU. Source