An Icelandic lawmaker has suggested imposing a new tax on bitcoin mining companies.
Speaking with Associated Press, Smari McCarthy of the Icelandic Pirate Party floated the idea during an interview about the country’s global position as a hub for bitcoin miners.
Iceland has long played home to an ecosystem of bitcoin miners, thanks to the country’s access to abundant sources of geothermal power and Arctic air, the latter of which is key for keeping the power-hungry mining hardware cool without added electricity costs.
“Under normal circumstances, companies that are creating value in Iceland pay a certain amount of tax to the government,” McCarthy was quoted as saying. “These companies are not doing that, and we might want to ask ourselves whether they should.”
The Pirate Party currently holds 6 seats out of 63 in the Althing, Iceland’s parliament, meaning that the party alone is unlikely to succeed in pursuing any kind of bitcoin mining tax on its own.
As the article notes, however, interest in the idea might gain traction among lawmakers of other parties if demand for the nation’s cheap electricity continues to increase.
One power industry representative told AP, “Just today, I came from a meeting with a mining company seeking to buy 18 megawatts.”
McCarthy told the news service:
“We are spending tens or maybe hundreds of megawatts on producing something that has no tangible existence and no real use for humans outside the realm of financial speculation. That can’t be good.”
Iceland power plant image via Shutterstock