Norway Ends Power Subsidization of Bitcoin Mining “Factories”

Datacenters in Norway receive a tax discount, a discount given to all power-intensive industries. The public has voiced their issues with the tax discount when it comes to places that mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Lars Haltbrekken, a Norwegian Parliamentary Representative said: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the dirtiest form of cryptographic output as Bitcoin. It requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally….We can only hope that politicians understand that energy-intensive computing is one of the things we will be living in the future.”

The tax discount will be removed from 2019.

Norway’s IT industry has reacted negatively to the proposal, believing it is a step backward. For instance, here’s a quote from the Chief Economist of ICT, Roger Schjerva: “This is shocking!… Norway scores high on rankings of political stability and predictable framework conditions, but now the government is playing a gabling role with this credibility.”

People in the IT industry are likely worried that this proposal will drive business away from Norway and into more crypto mining-friendly neighbors, or countries further afield that offer better rates. The Norwegian government has persistently been concerned with carbon footprint effect on the environment and so they are trying to find a way to balance their duty to the environment and keeping business.

Cryptocurrency is an emerging and exciting technology that has all the hallmarks of an industry that is here to stay (yes, in spite of its recent plunge). In a lot of ways, it seems like the natural progression from traditional banking. After all, every other aspect of our lives is moving to the digital space. First cash slowly fell out of favor with the uptake of credit and debit cards, and now its entirely likely that cryptocurrency will be how we do things in the future.

Norway may be playing a dangerous game here, implementing laws that seem to punish cryptocurrency endeavors such as mining. This may be due to a lack of trust in the crypto movement and an opinion that it is a fad. But if crypto is here to stay, which it looks like it is, Norway risk leaving themselves behind if they continue down this track. Only time will tell what effect this proposal has on the crypto industry within Norway, will it drive business away? Will the IT community rise up and block the proposal? There is so much going on in the crypto space, every day there is something new and a fresh look at the growing technology.

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