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Swedish Regulators Call for a Ban on Cryptocurrency Mining

BTC Ban
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China is no longer alone in thinking cryptocurrency mining should be banned: Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority and Environmental Protection Agency recently called for mining to be banned due to its environmental impact.

The regulators didn't mince words in a statement published on November 5 titled "Crypto-assets are a threat to the climate transition – energy-intensive mining should be banned." (Hat-tip to Fortune.) In it, the Financial Supervisory Authority and Environmental Protection Agency criticized miners' plans to use renewable energy:

The most common method for producing crypto-assets requires enormous amounts of electricity and generates large CO2 emissions. Crypto-asset producers are keen to use more renewable energy, and they are increasing their presence in the Nordic region. Sweden needs the renewable energy targeted by crypto-asset producers for the climate transition of our essential services, and increased use by miners threatens our ability to meet the Paris Agreement. Energy-intensive mining of crypto-assets should therefore be prohibited.

This puts mining operations in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Continuing to use non-renewable energy sources to mine will attract more concern about cryptocurrency's effect on the environment; switching to renewable energy sources means that other processes won't be able to make that switch themselves.

Sweden's argument echoes that made by the Chinese government when it banned cryptocurrency mining earlier this year. Although it's easy to question the legitimacy of China's claims, especially since it has continued work on its own digital currency, this statement shows that at least some Western regulators have similar concerns.

  • hotaru.hino
    As hopeful as I am about this, at the same time, how do you enforce this? Crypto was designed to be decentralized.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    As I have been saying for years: every GW of renewable energy consumed by mining is one less GW that can be used to reduce the load on non-renewables.

    hotaru.hino said:
    As hopeful as I am about this, at the same time, how do you enforce this? Crypto was designed to be decentralized.
    The same way China, UK and other places track down power thieves: use IR cameras to find buildings that have an abnormally high heat signature and investigate the reason. All we need is ~190 more countries coming to the same logical conclusion and banning crypto. There is no value in crypto-mining if it cannot be exchanged for anything anywhere on Earth anymore.

    Once enough countries have banned crypto, it may become a prerequisite for future trade and collaboration agreements to add pressure.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    hotaru.hino said:
    As hopeful as I am about this, at the same time, how do you enforce this? Crypto was designed to be decentralized.

    Two ways:
    1. Prevent Swedish Banks from working with bitcoin clearing houses. This means if you are mining in Sweden, then you'll have to have an account somewhere outside Sweden. And that will raise a few eyebrows. So this will take care of small mining operations that live in country.

    2. Just about every MODERN energy company monitors usage of every individual client. They then compare trends year over year, and with your neighbors and against the weather and sometimes even time of day (Smart Meters which are common in USA and Europe now). This is essential so they know how to upgrade infrastructure. or there are problems. They will notice if you sit outside the standard deviation. "Why is this house/warehouse consuming 20% more power than their neighbors?" That 500W 24/7 adds up. And this is one reason why illegal Chinese mining farms are stealing electricity in a bid to stay hidden.

    Math Stats are a @%#@$#
    Reply
  • husker
    Today's statement:
    The most common method for producing crypto-assets requires enormous amounts of electricity and generates large CO2 emissions...
    Tomorrow's statement:
    The most common method for accessing media such as watching television and playing video games requires enormous amounts of electricity and generates large CO2 emissions...
    Next week:
    The most common method for cooling homes below a temperature we consider adequate requires enormous amounts of electricity and generates large CO2 emissions...
    Reply
  • salgado18
    Sweden is so right in doing this. The planet is turning into a giant desert, and people are generating more heat and CO2 to earn virtual fools gold. Unless there is a solution that doesn't need massive computational resources, it should be outright banned.
    Reply