A request for freedom of information was used to obtain documents that disclosed that during the debate about a proposal for banning the Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining method, officials of the EU had considered banning Bitcoin trading entirely. A report showed that some of the EU officials had gone as far as suggesting that all Bitcoin (BTC) trading be banned in order to put a stop to its massive consumption of energy resources. From the perspective of the crypto community, the most concerning comments were found in a document that shed light on the minutes from a meeting between an environmental protection agency and the financial supervisor of Sweden.
In this EU meeting, officials had suggested that regulators put pressure on the Bitcoin community to abandon the current Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining method and adopt a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) method instead. During the discussion, an official stated that Ethereum was already moving towards a PoS mechanism for helping its community and if Ethereum is able to do so, the same can be expected of Bitcoin as well. The official said that other sustainable crypto coins need to be protected and the same does not apply to the Bitcoin community.
Another unnamed official had also suggested that a blanket ban be imposed in the EU on any crypto assets that use the PoW mechanism. While they had redacted the response to this question for protecting the decision-making process, it is important to note that such a dramatic regulation had been considered by the EU. The EU officials had remained unconcerned, for the most part, about the impact on retail traders and investors if an outright Bitcoin ban was to be imposed. They claimed that all who invested in Bitcoin were aware of the volatility risks. They said that additional protection measures are not needed.
The energy usage of Bitcoin mining has continued to draw attention from regulators and environmental organizations. This is because the consumption is higher than the energy consumption of entire countries. Chris Larsen, the co-founder of Ripple, had teamed up with Greenpeace back in March to put pressure on Bitcoin to switch to PoSmining, similar to what Ethereum is planning on doing. The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the EU had recently voted against a bill that proposed a ban on PoW mining, but these documents offer some insight into the concern some people have about the consumption of energy in crypto mining.