EU Commission warns crypto mining may be halted in energy emergency

Quick Take

  • European Union member states must prepare to stop crypto mining in the wake of the energy crisis on the continent.
  • The EU Commission also officially unveils its proposal to grade crypto according to environmental impact.

The European Commission announced that the European Union’s member states must prepare to halt crypto mining “in case there is a need for load shedding in the electricity systems”, according to an action plan on digitalizing the EU's energy system released on Tuesday.

With the war in Ukraine adding stress to energy supplies in Europe, the commission wants countries to prepare to lower the electricity consumption of crypto miners, with the possibility that mining operations could be ordered to completely halt in areas where electrical grids are forced to load shed. 

In the longer term, the commission also wants EU members to look into ending current tax breaks and subsidies for proof-of-work miners. 

The European Commission also announced its proposal to introduce a rating system for cryptocurrencies according to environmental impact within the European Union. The taxonomy system is part of the EU’s green deal; an effort by policy leaders to meet high-bar climate goals. In the plan issued today, EU leaders pointed to The Merge of Ethereum moving from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake as an example of the changes it hopes to see in blockchain ecosystem energy consumption. The commission says will collaborate internationally with different standardization bodies to develop the energy-efficiency label.

If approved, the scheme is set to roll out in 2025.

The rating scheme came together as a compromise on proof-of-work consensus mechanism between policymakers during debate over the Markets in Crypto-Assets legislation in March. 

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