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Norway seeks to close door on digital asset miners

Norway is looking to regulate data centers and attempt to edge digital asset miners out of the country.

Just recently, Norway passed a new legislation that will mandate registration and provide additional business information for all data centers nationwide. The framework, the first of its kind in Europe, will require data centers to disclose their owners, managers and to state which services are offered by the center.

“It is very important to get a good overview of what services are offered in these data centers. It is the socially beneficial data centers we want. They are important for infrastructure,” Norwegian Minister of Digitalization Karianne Tung said.

Speaking with local news outlet VG, Tung explained that one of the goals of the regulation is to give local authorities more information on what the data centers are and who they are run by so that local municipal politicians will have a better basis for allowing or denying the establishment of centers in their municipalities. This gives authorities the power to shut out undesirable industries and businesses.

“The purpose is to regulate the industry in such a way that we can close the door on the projects we don’t want,” Tung said.

One such ‘undesirable’ industry that may soon have the door slammed in its face is digital asset mining.

“It is fraught with large greenhouse gas emissions and is an example of a type of business we do not want in Norway,” Energy Minister Terje Aasland told VG.

This sentiment was supported by Tung, who added, “This is an industry that has not been regulated at all. But now it will be possible to supervise and control the data center.”

Digital asset mining is known to be an energy-intensive process, an oft used stat being that block reward mining uses more energy each year than Sweden.

Another factoid, even closer to home than Norway’s Scandinavian neighbor, is that digital asset mining firms in the north of Norway use nearly as much electricity as the district of Lofoten, according to a 2023 report by local outlet Dagsavisen.

Norway was formerly one of the more friendly jurisdictions in Europe for digital asset miners and the industry as a whole, but over the past few years, the country has been on a gradual road towards tighter controls on the sector.

In 2022, Norwegian Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum proposed scrapping a 2016 subsidy that slashed the electricity prices for block reward miners, classifying them as industrial consumers.

More recently, in May 2023, Norges Bank, Norway’s central bank, confirmed the country’s plan to impose watertight regulations over the local digital asset ecosystem to mitigate systemic risks.

Monday’s comments from Norway’s Energy and Digitalization Ministers further prove that the digital asset industry is under increasingly close scrutiny in the country.

Watch: Think of Bitcoin mining as financial self-discipline

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