Celebrity investor Kevin O’Leary (aka “Mr. Wonderful” on ABC TV series “Shark Tank“) says that institutional investors concerned about the environmental impact of Bitcoin have found a new — albeit indirect way — to own “green” Bitcoin.
According to the transcript of an interview that was released on his YouTube channel last Friday (March 11), the Shark Tank star said that although some Bitcoin mining firms are buying carbon offsets to reduce their carbon footprint in an attempt to deal with institutional investors’ ESG concerns, the lack of clarity of this approach means that such investors have started focusing on investing in bitcoin mining firms that rely only on clean energy:
“As the pressure came on for ESG [environmental, social and governance] mandates, they started buying carbon credits. That’s not going to work because you’re going to start to see in this year, I’m speculating, that these large institutions are going to start demanding carbon credit audits.”
“So all of the money is quietly moving right now to new mining companies, most of them private, that are going to use hydro, wind, solar and nuclear power because if you use any of those options for mining, there is no carbon audit. There is no offset necessary. You’re not burning carbon.“
Apparently, he has recently invested in a Norway-based Bitcoin mining firm, which uses only green energy, and he explained how investors like him are putting pressure on this firm and others like it to hold rather than sell the bitcoins they mine:
“We have power at less than two cents a kilowatt-hour. Our stacks are remote. We’re using the heat that’s generated there for hydroponics and fish rookeries, and the stakeholders of that mine are many of the villagers that live there.”
“Here’s the key to this situation: the institutions that are backing it and some of them are sovereign wealth funds ask me one thing: ‘Are the coins awarded going to stay on the balance sheet of this company? Because we’ll be able to own the stock with the proxy that we know every coin was mined sustainably under an ESG mandate, and that’s how we want to own our Bitcoin. If you’re telling us you’re going to sell off your coin, then we’re not investing.”
This episode aired March 11, 2022