Norway Curbing Crypto Mining Through Data Center Regulation

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  • The Norwegian government has announced legislation to regulate data centers, notably targeting cryptocurrency mining
  • Two ministers emphasized the need for regulation to oversee the type of projects that use energy-intensive data centers
  • They firmly rejected the use of the centers for cryptocurrency mining in Norway, citing better utilization of resources

The Norwegian government has announced plans to introduce new legislation aimed at regulating data centers, with a specific focus on curtailing cryptocurrency mining activities within the country. Digitalization Minister Karianne Tung and Energy Minister Terje Aasland shared their intentions with local news outlet VG, highlighting the necessity of imposing regulations to oversee the rapidly expanding data center sector. The pair said in no uncertain terms that crypto mining is not welcome in the country and that the resources needed to secure networks could be better used elsewhere.

Norway’s Actions Illustrate Shifting Trend

While several countries have taken steps to inhibit or ban crypto mining, Norway is poised to take the lead in Europe by becoming the first country to enact such comprehensive regulations for data centers. Tung explained to VG that the primary objective is to manage the industry effectively and prevent the establishment of undesirable usage, a bracket in which she believes that cryptocurrencies sit.

Tung emphasized the importance of the proposed law, stating (translated), “That is why we are putting forward a law that will regulate the data center industry for the first time.” The legislation would mandate the registration of data centers, identification of center ownership and management, and disclosure of services offered.

Echoing Tung’s sentiments, Aasland underscored the significance of gaining insight into the operations of data centers, saying, “It is very important to get a good overview of which services are offered in these data centers.” Aasland also emphasized the importance of socially beneficial data centers for national infrastructure.

The government aims to empower local municipalities by providing them with detailed information about proposed data center projects. By requiring data centers to disclose their intended activities, the government hopes to enable informed decision-making at the local level.

Crypto Miners Not Welcome

Cryptocurrency mining is a primary concern for the Norwegian government due to its environmental impact, with Aasland expressing disdain for such operations. Citing their substantial greenhouse gas emissions, she noted, “It [cryptocurrency mining] is associated with large greenhouse gas emissions and is an example of a type of business we do not want in Norway.”

Furthermore, the ministers emphasized the need for stricter oversight to prevent actors seeking to exploit Norway’s cheap electricity for their own gain, with Aasland stressing the government’s preference for “serious actors who are important to society.”.

Despite recognizing the importance of the data center industry for Norway’s digital infrastructure, both ministers highlighted the lack of oversight and control in the current landscape, with Tung lamenting the absence of comprehensive data on existing data centers and stressing the need for a more rigorous regulatory framework.