Swiss parliament debates restrictions on Bitcoin due to energy usage
The high-energy prices in Switzerland are forcing authorities to think of novel ways for the country to save energy over the winter months. For now, some members of the Swiss government have set their sights on one target: Bitcoin.
Bitcoin in Switzerland uses a significant amount of energy
As the weather gets colder, Switzerland’s demand for energy is set to increase sharply. If energy-saving measures brought in by the government fail to reduce demand, high-energy industries like cryptocurrency could find themselves facing bans, quotas or other restrictions - however, the government is quick to say that essential services provided by conventional financial institutions such as Swiss banks wouldn't be affected by the proposed measures.
According to 20 minuten, several Swiss parliamentarians, including many from the country’s Green Party, argue that high utility bills and energy shortages are being caused in part by cryptocurrency mining and trading. Green party officials have already proposed a law in Zug which would bar local residents from paying their Swiss taxes with cryptocurrency.
Swiss scramble to save electricity while crypto-operations continue to consume
According to 20 minuten, many in Switzerland are angry about the amount of energy used by cryptocurrency operations. According to experts at the University of Cambridge, the Bitcoin network currently consumes around 94,8 terawatt hours of electricity per year - more than the annual electricity consumption of Finland.
Other countries such as Ghana, Bangladesh and Bolivia have already banned Bitcoin. In response to calls for regulation, Heinz Tännler, President of the Swiss Blockchain Federation, told Swissinfo that regulating or banning Bitcoin in Switzerland “won’t do any good”, because the most energy-intensive part of the process - cryptocurrency mining - takes place mostly outside Switzerland in countries where energy prices are low.