Bitcoin (BTC), by far the largest and best-known cryptocurrency, has come under pressure from environmentalists and regulators in recent months due to its very high power consumption.
That sky flight the price of bitcoin has been accompanied by an increase in the demand for electricity from the bitcoin network. The process of securing the network, confirming transactions and minting new coins consumes an amount of electricity annually, similar to that in some small countries.
Following the postponement of an Ethereum upgrade to the end of the year, the second largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, in order to reduce energy consumption, internal EU documents revealed the extent of anti-bitcoin discussions among European officials, as well as their desire to “protect” ethereum.
Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies have been criticized for their energy needs and potential negative effects on the environment.
Earlier this year, Swedish financial regulators and the European Commission discussed the possibility of banning bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW) mining mechanism due to its environmental impact. , according to documents published by the German website Netzpolitik and obtained under European freedom of information laws.
Officials have gone so far as to suggest that the EU ban bitcoin exchanges directly to reduce its overall energy consumption. They also proposed lobbying the bitcoin community and developers to follow Ethereum’s example by adopting the less power-hungry proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism.
“If ethereum is able to move, we could legally ask bitcoin to do the same,” the minutes of the meeting showed. “We need to ‘protect’ other cryptocurrencies that are sustainable. I do not see [le] need to ‘protect’ the bitcoin community. ”
Last month, the EU voted against banning bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining with proof of work, which according to the University of Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index currently consumes about 139 terawatt hours (Twh) of electricity each year, more than Finland’s country.
Part of the text of the minutes, including the answer to a question about the complete ban on bitcoin transactions, has been edited to protect the “ongoing decision-making process.”
” How [la] the disappearance of bitcoin affect consumers? asked an official involved with the answer: “Bitcoin participants are fully aware of currency volatility / investment risk.”
The price of bitcoin has risen in recent years, which has driven the price of ethereum and other … [+] cryptocurrencies, and push up the energy needs of the bitcoin network.
Economist Alex de Vries told Netzpolitik that “targeting bitcoin’s price is the only thing that will” reduce bitcoin’s CO2 footprint. According to De Vries, politicians should tax transactions or restrict trading in certain cryptocurrencies.
As the price of bitcoin rises, more computers are being routed to the bitcoin network, making it more secure but also increasing the amount of electricity used by the network to power and cool the graphics processor unit (GPU) that specializes in cryptocurrency. mining.
Meanwhile, bitcoin’s price growth has also sparked fears that the fast-moving crypto market could soon become a threat to global financial stability.
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