Money and Markets

Proof-of-work crypto mining should be banned in the EU, says European markets regulator

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Artyom Geodakyan/Getty Images
Artyom Geodakyan/Getty Images
  • The vice chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority called for a ban proof-of-work bitcoin mining. 
  • "We need to have a discussion about shifting the industry to a more efficient technology," Erik Thedéen told the Financial Times.
  • Proof-of-work mining is more energy intensive than proof-of-stake mining, but less secure. 
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    Erik Thedéen, the vice chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority, said the European Union should ban proof-of-work mining for bitcoin, according to a Financial Times report.

    European regulators should instead prioritise proof-of-stake mining over the more energy-intensive proof-of-work mining, he told the FT. 

    "We need to have a discussion about shifting the industry to a more efficient technology," Thedéen said. 

    The vice chair called for a bloc-wide ban on proof-of-work mining as it has become a "national issue" in his native Sweden due to the large amount of renewable energy it uses. The energy-intensive work impedes climate goals and takes away resources from other projects, Thedéen explained.

    "The solution is to ban proof-of-work," he said.

    The two primary ways to verify cryptocurrency transactions are through proof-of-work and proof-of-stake.

    Proof-of-stake — the less energy-intensive method — asks participants to put up cryptocurrency as collateral for the opportunity to successfully approve transactions. 

    Proof-of-work requires participants to expend large amounts of computational resources and energy to generate new blocks on the blockchain. It is a more secure method, though it consumes more energy. 

    The energy needed to collect bitcoin, among other tokens, through proof-of-work mining continues to raise controversy. Last year, Elon Musk said Tesla would stop taking bitcoin payments, citing the network's energy use. 

    Tesla will only start accepting bitcoin as a form of again once mining uses 50% renewable energy, he said, adding that crypto "is a good idea…but this cannot come at great cost to the environment." 

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