Swedish central bankers snipe Bitcoin mining, cite rampant energy use

Another day, another environmental attack on proof-of-work (PoW) mining. A report shared by the Swedish central bank argued that energy-intensive Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency mining should be banned. 

The Swedish central bank, known as the Riksbank, is the oldest central bank in the world. In a damning report entitled, “Cryptocurrencies and their impact on financial stability,” the bank had a crack at PoW cryptocurrency mining. PoW mining employs energy-guzzling data centers that solve puzzles to secure blockchains. The report stated:

“Recently, some extraction of crypto assets has been established in northern Sweden, where it consumes as much electricity as 200,000 households do on an annual basis.”

For Knut Svanholm, a Bitcoin author who recently penned  “∞/21M,” told Cointelegraph, “A central bank has no business telling people what they can and cannot do with their electricity.”

“If they really cared about the environment, they’d shut their own operation down for good tomorrow morning.”

The paper cites peers at the environmental agency and the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, equivalent to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, in its examination of Bitcoin’s energy use: 

“The proof-of-work method, which is used to confirm transactions and extract new cryptocurrencies, should be banned in favor of other, less energy-intensive methods.”

Svanholm has a different take: “Bitcoin mining is guessing a number over and over again. […] As so many other Swedish institutions have done before them, they [the central bank] choose to comment on something that they don’t understand and have no business having even an opinion on.”

The report comes as little surprise, given that banks and governments regularly take aim at PoW energy use. The report also flies in the face of Bitcoin adoption in Sweden. Home to a number of Bitcoin startups, Sweden is advanced in terms of European Bitcoin adoption.

Prominent Swedish Bitcoiners, including Svanholm as well as Christian Ander, the founder of Swedish Bitcoin exchange BTX, were quick to refute the report on Twitter. Svanholm shared a Youtube…



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