Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, has predicted that a flood of institutional money will flow into bitcoin once miners have addressed the renewable energy and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. He said the flood will begin when bitcoin meets the ESG standards which will allow institutional investors to get into the asset class.
O’Leary Predicts Soaring Institutional Demand for Bitcoin After Miners Solve ESG Issues
Kevin O’Leary has reiterated his concerns about bitcoin’s sustainability and the importance of the cryptocurrency meeting institutions’ ESG standards during a webcast at the Consensus 2021 convention Monday. ESG refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business: environmental, social, and corporate governance.
The Shark Tank star emphasized that institutional investors are still interested in bitcoin despite the recent sell-off. Currently, less than 1% of institutions globally invest in cryptocurrency as an asset class. He explained that one reason stopping them from getting into cryptocurrency at a faster pace is because they have sustainability committees that screen investments and only allow ones that meet ESG standards.
On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor announced that Musk talked to major North American bitcoin miners and they have agreed to form the “Bitcoin Mining Council” to promote renewable energy usage. However, many crypto proponents are skeptical.
Nonetheless, O’Leary said that for the crypto industry:
The fact that they’re going through this process, I consider a very positive sign.
Mr. Wonderful revealed that the first question he asks a mining project before investing in it is how the project deals with ESG. Now that institutional investors are interested in gaining BTC exposure, he stressed that miners must ensure that bitcoin can meet the firms’ ESG standards.
He previously said that large institutions have ESG compliance committees. “We have covenants around how assets are made, whether carbon is burned, whether human rights are involved, whether it’s made in China,” he explained. “Institutions will not buy coin mined in China, coin mined using coal to burn for electricity, coin mined in countries with sanctions on them.”
The Shark Tank investor even suggested that there should be a way to “tag” a bitcoin and prove that it came from a sustainable energy source. While bitcoin proponents and developers are strongly opposed to any such data being tied to individual amounts, O’Leary claims that the technology is “being worked on,” and when it’s available, a flood of institutional money will come into bitcoin. He elaborated:
It will be the reason it [bitcoin] goes to $100,000, $200,000. That’s not going to happen until institutions start to buy it. So everybody’s got to wake up and realize there’s demand, but it has to be done around ESG concerns.