The investment experts at Forbes Advisor, a price comparison and financial guidance platform, have found that more than a third of Brits (37%) are in favour of a complete ban on cryptocurrency ‘mining’ in the UK, due to its environmental impact. One in five (20%) participants claimed to strongly support a ban. 

Crypto mining is an energy-intensive process as it relies on immense amounts of computing power. Analysts have suggested that Bitcoin mining alone consumes more energy in a year than some countries.

Age was a key consideration in shaping opinions on crypto’s eco credentials. Among adults aged 18-34, more than two in five (44%) said they supported a ban on cryptocurrency mining due to environmental concerns. Of those aged 35-54, more than a third (35%) said they favoured the ban, a sentiment echoed by more than a third (35%) of those aged 55 and above.

While there was no substantial gender divide regarding support for a ban, with two in five (40%) men and one third (34%) of women in favour, men were twice as likely as women to oppose the ban. One in six men (17%) were against prohibition compared to one in twelve (8%) women.

In addition to the support of a ban on cryptocurrency mining, a majority of respondents (52%), think that the crypto industry must do more to mitigate its environmental impact.  

While more than half, (51%), are in favour of government regulations aimed at addressing and reducing carbon emissions caused by cryptocurrency activities

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Awareness of crypto mining impact on the environment

In addition to highlighting that a significant number of people would support a ban on crypto mining, the study highlights the need for more education on the issue. Almost three in five Brits (59%) are not fully aware of how cryptocurrencies are mined and the environmental impact. 

Interestingly, younger generations appear to be the best informed, with almost four in five (79%) of 18-34 year-olds claiming to have knowledge of the topic. This sentiment is lower for those aged 35-54 (60%) and respondents older than 55 (45%).

Further findings revealed that a third of investors or those who are planning to invest (33%) in cryptocurrencies have sought out information on the environmental impact of crypto mining. Younger potential investors were considerably more interested, with almost half of those 18-34 (45%) doing so, along with 23% of those aged 35-54 and one in eight (13%) aged 55 or older.

Investment decisions and the environment 

Despite the clear environmental concerns surrounding cryptocurrency, the actions of British crypto investors often diverge from their opinions.

Environmental concerns influence the investment decisions of around a sixth (16%) of investors, whereas the majority prioritise other factors. The top considerations for investors are the potential returns on their investments (37%), the cost associated with purchasing cryptocurrencies (31%), and the popularity of specific digital assets (25%).

Significantly, one in five (21%) Brits express a willingness to invest in environmentally-friendly cryptocurrencies, even if they offer potentially lower returns. This is even more pronounced among those who have already invested in cryptocurrencies or are planning to do so, with almost three in five (58%) open to making such eco-conscious investment choices.

Furthermore, almost two in five (38%) who have invested in cryptocurrencies have deliberately avoided specific digital assets due to their perceived environmental impact.

Interestingly, more than one quarter (27%) of respondents believe it is possible to power cryptocurrency mining operations with renewable energy sources. When questioned about why they would not pursue this route, concerns about market stability (36%) emerged as the primary reason. Other significant barriers include a lack of access to reliable information (29%) and uncertainty regarding regulatory issues and legal compliance (25%).

There are some cryptocurrencies that don’t have the same environmental impact as Bitcoin and other so-called ‘proof of work’ coins. These ‘proof of stake’ coins, such as Ethereum, see users stake their crypto holdings for the chance to mine new coins, rather than using power-hungry computing rigs to race against other users.

Ethereum switched from proof of work to proof of stake in 2022, reducing its energy consumption by as much as 99%.

Forbes Advisor crypto expert, Mark Hooson, said: “Support for a crypto mining ban is notable, and a substantial number of investors are open to less energy-intensive ‘proof of stake’ cryptocurrencies, even if it means the possibility of lower returns. Many investors are starting to weigh both the potential returns and the environmental impact of their choices. 

“Those concerned about the environment will want to research and choose cryptocurrencies and investment platforms that prioritise sustainability. By increasing awareness and making informed choices, investors can contribute to a more sustainable cryptocurrency landscape.