European Parliament Postpones Vote on Cryptocurrency Bill Over Proof-of-Work Mining Concerns

The European Union Parliament is delaying a vote on a framework aimed at regulating cryptocurrencies amid concerns over proof-of-work mining.

In a Twitter thread on Friday, the member of the economic commission of the European Parliament, Stefan Berger, said that the government body had canceled a vote on the Crypto Asset Markets framework, or MiCA, scheduled for Monday. Berger said that parliament needed to clarify “the question of proof of work” in discussions with stakeholders to ensure a proper legal framework, adding that some might misunderstand the proposal as a ban on cryptocurrencies.

“The debate on MiCA indicates that some parts of the draft report can be misunderstood and understood as a prohibition [de la prueba de trabajo]Berger said. “It would be fatal if the EU Parliament sent the wrong signal with a vote in these circumstances.”

The MiCA, presented for the first time to the European Commission in September 2020 and adopted by the European Council in November 2021, was intended to target “create a regulatory framework for the crypto asset market that supports innovation and harnesses the potential of crypto assets in a way that preserves financial stability and protects investors.” As rapporteur for that vote — the person appointed to report on its proceedings — Berger said he canceled the vote, without specifying when it might be rescheduled.

The impetus for clarification may have been driven over reports that a leaked draft of the MiCA proposed to ban the use of cryptocurrencies in the EU due to their energy consumption. If enacted, the regulatory proposal would replace all current national frameworks on cryptocurrencies for EU member countries without the need to reform laws one by one, which could have led to a ban on proof-of-work mining.

Many EU lawmakers and regulators have called for proof-of-work mining to be banned as the cryptocurrency space grows and the impacts of climate change become more visible. A Swedish financial watchdog and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency called in November for a ban on trial-of-work mining, a move that drew criticism from some industry leaders.

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