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Parliamentary questions
PDF 42kWORD 18k
22 July 2019
Question for written answer E-002367-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Saskia Bricmont (Verts/ALE) , Molly Scott Cato (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Environmental footprint of cryptocurrencies such as Facebook's Libra
 Answer in writing 

There is controversy around Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, particularly in relation to the protection of personal data and to financial stability and oversight.

Cryptocurrencies depend on blockchain technology, in which each transaction is verified in a series of operations entailing very high-energy consumption: it takes twice as much energy to generate one cryptocurrency dollar of added value as it does to produce a dollar’s worth of mined metal (i.e. copper, zinc and similar metals other than aluminium).

The ‘mining’ of Bitcoin alone is reported to account for 1% of global energy consumption and is increasing rapidly (rising by a factor of five in 2018). The impact of Libra would be on a different scale altogether because it could potentially involve 2.4 billion individuals (as against the 50 million currently using cryptocurrencies).

The consequences in terms of CO2 emissions would be disastrous: wider use of Bitcoin alone would contribute to pushing global warming over the 2°C mark within 20 years.

Will the Commission examine the environmental footprint — including energy and water consumption and CO2 emissions — of these developments (possibly in partnership with the European Systemic Risk Board, which has produced a study of climate-change-related economic and financial risks)?

In addition, will it propose measures to limit that footprint?

Original language of question: FR 
Last updated: 5 August 2019Legal notice