No ‘blood coin’ for Kevin O’Leary as investor takes stand on Bitcoin energy consumption
Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den personality Kevin O’Leary is taking a stand against what he terms “blood coin,” that being Bitcoin (BTC) mined in China. The investor declared that he would only deal with “clean coin” — coins mined using renewable energy — from now on and suggested other institutions were starting to do the same.
O’Leary took aim at the free-wheeling nature of Bitcoin production by pointing out that most other products in the world are manufactured according to institutional and regulatory compliance standards. O’Leary said, during an interview with CNBC:
“We have compliance on large institutions, we have covenants on how assets are made, whether carbon is burned, whether there are human rights involved, whether it’s made in China.”
Every example listed by O’Leary is one that applies to the world’s largest Bitcoin mining region — China, where cheap coal-fuelled electricity accounts for an estimated 50%–65% of the overall Bitcoin hash rate. No one wants to buy Bitcoin that originated from China, says O’Leary, who suggested institutions were beginning to seek “virgin” coins, which can be traced back to an environmentally ethical source.
“All of 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 the electricity; coin mined in countries with sanctions on them. And all of a sudden there’s this huge demand for virgin coin with the provenance known,” said O’Leary.
Eventually, the zeitgeist will come to know two different types of Bitcoin: blood coin, and clean coin, O’Leary said:
“This is a really interesting problem, and 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.”
O’Leary said concerned would-be investors regularly ask him about the source of Bitcoin and whether its production met contemporary western standards. The investor said that from now on, he would only be dealing with clean Bitcoin.