Bad news for Bitcoin: Sweden wants the EU to ban mining -
BY SHAWN TULLY
Bitcoin fans are sticking to the narrative that the signature cryptocurrency, widely criticized for its gigantic carbon footprint, will go green in a big way. But a newly issued proposal from the government of Sweden signals how hard it could to match that story with reality.
The government's argument: Bitcoin mining isn't just bad for the climate, it's bad for worldwide efforts to convert the global energy system to renewables. Belief in green Bitcoin, of course, has adherents in business's highest ranks.
In July, Cathie Wood, chief of Ark Invest, asserted that "there's nothing better than Bitcoin for ESG," adding that "Bitcoin will probably become part of the utility ecosystems, and will proliferate renewables faster than would otherwise be the case." Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square, tweeted in April that "Bitcoin incentivizes green energy." "True," responded Elon Musk. A month later, the EV pioneer rocked the crypto world by halting Tesla's months-old practice of accepting Bitcoin in payment or its cars until non-fossil fuels powered at least half of all Bitcoin mining.
In July, Musk expressed confidence that crypto was trending rapidly towards renewables, making it "likely" that production would soon reach the 50% bogey where Tesla would "resume accepting Bitcoin."
The Bitcoin champs' position seems to make sense: Right now, Bitcoin mining emits as much CO2 as Ireland or Greece, but a historic shift from minting coins using natural gas and coal to wind, solar, and hydro would banish that hobgoblin. Certainly, the higher its price soars, the more pollution it will spew sans an ecological awakening. But the recent Swedish statement signals that the countries where miners seek green energy may not want them. Sweden argues that Bitcoin production deploying renewable sources isn't environmentally friendly at all.
It devours electricity that's sorely needed to wean bigger industries from fossil fuels, potentially forcing host nations to import dirty energy from abroad, making their emissions far worse.
Put simply, after getting booted from China, and curbed in nations where they resettled for hogging so much juice that homes and businesses go dark, the miners may face a tough time finding places to provide the renewables they seek.