EU Regulator Ties Up Crypto Regulation Vote Over Proof-of-Work Ban

A European Parliament member has canceled a vote on a long-awaited crypto regulation vote over fact-finding concerns.

EU Regulator Ties Up Crypto Regulation Vote Over Proof-of-Work Ban
Shutterstock cover by S-F

Key Takeaways

  • European Parliament member Stefan Berger has canceled a vote scheduled for Monday on crypto regulation.
  • The provision, called the Markets in Crypto-assets proposal, apparently contained confusing language on Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies, which were added later.
  • These anti-Proof-of-Work provisions caused a stir this week after making the rounds, causing Berger to cancel the vote.

Share this article

The European Parliament has delayed its vote on the Markets in Crypto-assets Directive that was scheduled for Feb. 28 due to a provision that might ban Proof-of-Work. The vote could have sent a major proposal for crypto regulations into discussions with the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. 

Leaked Draft of Crypto Bill Draws Ire

A key vote on crypto regulations that would affect roughly a half billion people has been delayed so that facts on Proof-of-Work can be gathered.

In 2019, the European Parliament proposed its regulatory package called Markets in Crypto-assets with the stated purpose of facilitating the “potential of digital finance in terms of innovation and competition while mitigating the risks.” However, Stefan Berger, the rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs’ who was scheduled to vote on the Markets in Crypto-assets proposal, has called off the vote because of concerns that the proposal could be “misinterpreted as a de facto Bitcoin ban.”

Berger went on to discuss passages in the draft of the bill that could be seen as a Proof-of-Work ban, warning it “would be fatal if the #EU Parliament sent the wrong signal with a vote under these circumstances.” The EU Parliament member noted the “urgent” need to “create clear facts” on Proof-of-Work in further discussions before the vote. 

He concluded

“I will make another attempt with all stakeholders to reach a compromise that provides crypto assets with a proper legal framework but does not challenge Proof-of-Work.”

It appears that, while the Markets in Crypto-assets proposal states the importance of fostering innovation so Europe might be “fit for the digital age,” a later addition to the bill added the critical bit about Proof-of-Work that Berger and others expressed concern over. These drafts with Proof-of-Work bans made the rounds this week and drew ire. 

The European Parliament decides upon European Union legislation alongside the Council of the European Union. The legislative body also plays a key role in the membership of the European Commission, which implements EU policies, such as by electing its President. 

There have been rumblings—and outright support—for a Proof-of-Work mining ban in the European Union due to its environmental footprint. For example, the vice-chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Erik Thedéen, called for a Proof-of-Work mining ban last month, favoring instead Proof-of-Stake.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies. 

Share this article