TOPSHOT - A technician inspects the backside of bitcoin mining at Bitfarms in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec on March 19, 2018. - Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works based on the blockchain technology without a central bank or single administrator. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images)

Cryptocurrencies are big business. But many of them carry a heavy carbon footprint — putting them in the crosshairs of EU policymakers now determined to tackle climate change and reduce companies’ carbon emissions.

Bitcoin, the biggest in the cryptocurrency world, costs some $40,000 to buy one unit, putting its market value at close to $750 billion (at the time of publication). The second-most valuable is Ethereum, worth around $270 billion. The high prices have triggered a gold rush, and lawmakers are wary of sending mixed signals.

“We need consistency in the policy,” said Finnish S&D member of the European Parliament Eero Heinäluoma, pointing to Brussels’ efforts to green the EU economy and reduce carbon emissions by 55 percent over the next nine years. “It is not very credible to legitimize and boost at the same time crypto assets that are based on a technology using more energy than some member states.”

 

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