Big Win for BTC: Proposal Limiting Proof-of-Work Is Rejected in EU Parliament. A provision that could have forced proof-of-work cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to shift to more environmentally friendly mechanisms failed to get the votes required.
A proposed rule that could have, in effect, banned the popular cryptocurrency bitcoin across the European Union (EU) has been quashed.
The European parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee voted on Monday to keep the provision out of a draft of the proposed Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework, the EU’s comprehensive regulatory package for governing digital assets, people familiar with the result said..
The provision, added to the draft last week, sought to limit the use of cryptocurrencies powered by an energy-intensive computing process known as proof-of-work across the EU’s 27 member states. The proposal met with a heavy backlash from crypto advocates worldwide.
CoinDesk reported yesterday that the vote on the provision in question was too close to call, and a small majority might defeat it. The proposal required all cryptocurrencies to be subject to the EU’s “minimum environmental sustainability standards with respect to their consensus mechanism.”
For popular proof-of-work cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, which are already traded in the EU, the rule proposed a phase-out plan to shift their consensus mechanism from proof-of-work to other methods that use less energy, like proof-of-stake.
Although there are plans to move ethereum to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism in 2022, it’s unclear whether the same can be done for bitcoin.
A slim majority of the monetary committee voted in favor of a compromise that calls on the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm responsible for proposing new legislation, to offer alternative regulation:
“5. By 1 January 2025, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and to the Council, as appropriate, a legislative proposal to amend Regulation (EU) 2020/852, in accordance with Article 10 of that Regulation, with a view to including in the EU sustainable finance taxonomy any cryptoasset mining activities that contribute substantially to climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
Proof-of-work has come under heavy criticism from some regulators and politicians around the world over energy concerns. Some EU leaders are concerned that renewable energy may be channelled into sustaining cryptocurrencies like bitcoin instead of national use.
After the vote, the MiCA draft will move on to a trilogue, a formal round of negotiations between the European commission, council and parliament.