European Central Bank - eurosystem
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Pierre-Loïc Benoit

11 July 2022
Some crypto-assets have a significant carbon footprint and are estimated to consume a similar amount of energy each year to individual countries like Spain, the Netherlands or Austria. As the mining and expansion of these crypto-assets are fully dependent on energy supply, their valuation is particularly vulnerable to jurisdictions’ climate policies. Increasing financial exposures to such crypto-assets are therefore likely to contribute to increased transition risk for the financial system. This article provides an overview of the estimated carbon footprint of certain crypto-assets such as bitcoin and its causes. It also discusses the primary policy role of public authorities, which need to evaluate whether the outsized carbon footprint of certain crypto-assets undermines their green transition commitments. Finally, it analyses policy options for prudential standard-setters and the need for climate-related considerations in crypto-investors’ practices.
JEL Code
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation