Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, says he will only buy “clean” bitcoins that are mined sustainably in countries that use clean energy. He says institutional investors are concerned about where bitcoins are mined and will not buy “blood coins” from China.
Clean Bitcoins vs. ‘Blood Coins’
Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary talked about an emerging challenge with bitcoin investing for institutional investors and clean energy in an interview with CNBC on Monday. “What’s really emerging as a bit of an issue” regarding bitcoin investing for institutions concerns where the coins are mined, he began.
“We have compliance on large institutions. We have covenants around how assets are made, whether carbon is burned, whether human rights are involved, whether it’s made in China,” he described, elaborating:
All these issues … have now come to the fore on bitcoin. Institutions will not buy coin mined in China, coin mined using coal to burn for electricity, coin mined in countries with sanctions on them.
“All of a sudden there’s this huge demand for virgin coins with its provenance known,” he continued.
O’Leary, who once called bitcoin “garbage” and a “giant nothing burger,” revealed in February that he has invested in bitcoin following the approval of a few bitcoin exchange-traded funds in Canada. He also disclosed that he put 3% of his portfolio in cryptocurrencies.
“After I declared interest in getting a 3% weighting, I got inundated from institutions saying ‘wait a second are you buying blood coins from China?’” O’Leary exclaimed. “Who knew that was a problem.”
He noted that he has to deal with this issue on a daily basis. “I bought some coins and everybody asks me where did it come from,” he further shared. Noting that he is now personally working to ensure that every coin he owns is compliant, investing in miners that can do that, the Shark Tank star emphasized:
So now, I’m not buying coin unless I know where it was mined, when it was mined, the provenance of it. Not in China. No blood coin for me.
O’Leary continued: “I think it’s a real asset class. And now you’ve got to differentiate what you own. It’s rather remarkable because we are in a bit of a trade war still even with the Biden administration with China. China mines most of the coin and institutions don’t want to own it, not just for the carbon issue but also human rights issue.”
Noting that “This is a really interesting problem,” Mr. Wonderful noted:
I see over the next year or two, two kinds of coin. Blood coin from China, (and) clean coin mined sustainably in countries that use hydroelectricity, not coal … I’m going on the side of clean coin.
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