EU urges members to be ready to block crypto mining

EU is targeting PoW mining as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts pressure on energy usage

Exterior of the European Union’s parliament                                 
EU calls for energy independence from Russia – Photo:Shutterstock

The European Commision has called on members states to be prepared to stop crypto mining operations because of the risk of possible blackouts posed by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to an EU action plan issued by the Commission, an energy efficiency labelling scheme is alsobeing called for to tackle growing energy consumption at data centres, such as those used to mine cryptocurrencies.

“Just as their use has grown significantly, the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies has more or less doubled compared to two years ago, reaching around 0.4% of worldwide electricity consumption,” stated the action plan. “In harnessing the use of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technologies in energy markets and trading, care must be taken to use only the most energy efficient versions of the technology.”

EU nations must ‘be ready to stop crypto mining’

The plan added that should the anticipated energy crisis this winter necessitate energy rationing – or so-called “load shedding” – EU nations “must also be ready to stop crypto-assets mining”.

The Euorpean Union’s executive branch will collaborate with international bodies and companies to introduce measures that promote the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism over the proof-of-work (PoW) mining mechanism. 

Bitcoin (BTC) has come in for substantial criticism in recent years because of the energy intensive nature of its PoW mining mechanisms. 

Ethereum recently completed The Merge, which transitioned the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency from PoW to a PoS consensus system. In addition to seeking greater efficiency, Ethereum developers have boasted about the new protocol’s ‘greener’ characteristics. 

Striving for independence from Russian fuel imports

In its statement, the Commission said on Tuesday: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine and current high energy prices have increased the need for the EU to achieve its independence from Russian fossil fuel imports and its strategic sovereignty and security, which can be boosted by the creation of a digital energy system.”

EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said: “The aim is to make our energy system more efficient and ready for increasing share of renewable energy sources. For this, we need more innovative digital solutions and a grid that is much smarter and more interactive than it is today. 

The Estonian politicians added: “Today's Action Plan will help unlock the potential of digitalising the energy sector and the important energy savings that this can provide, benefitting all consumers.”

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