By 45% to 18%, Britons support banning cryptocurrency to combat climate change

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
October 21, 2021, 10:26 AM UTC

Far fewer people think a ban would be effective, however

The environmental impact of cryptocurrency is well-documented, with studies showing that the amount of electricity being used to mine Bitcoin alone is greater than that consumed by entire countries. At the time of writing, Bitcoin mining reportedly uses more electricity than the Philippines, and accounts for 0.46% of the entire world’s electricity consumption.

With COP-26 approaching and world leaders set to discuss ways to reduce emissions and combat climate change, a new YouGov survey looking at support for different measures finds that Britons tend to support banning cryptocurrency for environmental reasons.

By 45% to 18%, Britons say they would support banning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in order to help tackle climate change, including 29% who would “strongly support” it.

Age is a key factor, with younger Britons opposing such a ban. The youngest adults (18-24 year olds) are in opposition by 35% to 21%, as are 25-34 year olds by 34% to 25%. Support swings firmly in favour of the ban among older 35-44 year olds (who back a ban by 40% to 22%) and among those aged 65 and older support for a ban is more than ten times the level of opposition (63% vs 6%).

Men (particularly young men) are known to be much more involved in cryptocurrency trading, so it is no surprise to see a gender divide on the idea of a ban. While men and women are about equally likely to support a ban (47% of men and 43% of women), men are twice as likely to be opposed (25% vs 12%). Women are more likely to have answered ‘don’t know’ on the topic (45% vs 28%).

Would such a ban be effective though? Here, Britons are doubtful. Only a quarter (26%) think that banning cryptocurrency would be effective at tackling climate change. This means that a crypto ban is actually close to the bottom of the table in terms of measures Britons think will work.

This is also the largest disparity between support for a climate change measure and its perceived effectiveness of all the 21 measures we asked about. This could indicate that some Britons support a ban for reasons unrelated to climate change – cryptocurrency also has a reputation for use in criminal activities.

See the results here