Newly revealed documents show that European Union officials have looked at banning Bitcoin in an effort to address its energy consumption.
Documents obtained by digital rights organization Nezpolitik suggest that EU officials have been discussing harsh anti-Bitcoin regulation behind closed doors. One document contains minutes from a meeting involving Sweden’s financial supervisor and environmental agency, where officials considered whether it was possible to pressure Bitcoin into switching to a proof of work (POW) model to a proof of stake (POS). The meeting took place in November of 2021.
“Ethereum started moving PoW to PoS because of its community,” the minutes said.
“[This] suggests that one could also migrate BTC from PoW to PoS. If Ethereum is able to shift, we could legitimately request the same from BTC. We need to ‘protect’ other crypto coins that are sustainable. Don’t see the need to “protect” the bitcoin community.”
According to the meeting minutes, officials also asked each other what exactly the effect would be of getting rid of Bitcoin. For example, one speaker asked what purpose Bitcoin was providing that something like Solana also doesn’t meet.
“Certain fuels for cooling of datacenters were prohibited under environmental acquis. Those production methods were prohibited due to their environmental damage. Which service does Bitcoin offer that Solana does not offer to society? If you can prove that other cryptocurrencies can operate without POW then why can’t bitcoin …
Comes to this from a consumer perspective. How would [the] disappearance of bitcoin affect consumers? Participants in BTC are fully aware of the volatility of the currency/investment risk. [They] Do not need additional protection measures.”
Exactly which specific officials said what at the meeting remains unclear, as the documents obtained by Nezpolitik are redacted. However, emails regarding the meeting were also obtained, which shed light on some of the participants, including Helen Koepman, acting head of the Digital Innovation and Blockchain Unit, Lukas Repa, Senior Policy Officer, and Joanna Smolinka, Policy Assistant to the Director.
According to other emails acquired under the Swedish Freedom of Information (FOI) request, officials on a conference call rejected the idea that Bitcoin mining can make use of excess energy produced in oil, wind, or solar plants.
“Excess energy can be diverted to other markets. Methods of storing energy will improve. Hydrogen production can take excess energy. There is no excess energy.“