Kevin O'Leary on Clean Bitcoin Mining, the Elon Musk-Twitter Conundrum

The future of the crypto mining industry is likely nuclear and hydro, the “Shark Tank” co-host said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover.”

Apr 22, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 22, 2022 at 9:24 p.m. UTC

Fran is a reporter on the Layer 2 team, the site's magazine section. He has written for CNBC Make It and Inc. He owns no crypto holdings.

Kevin “Mr. Wonderful ”O’Leary is a serial entrepreneur, author and chairman of O’Shares, a wealth management company, and lately a massive crypto investor. The Canadian-born TV personality is one of the richest businessmen in the world, and has an estimated net worth of $400 million.

O'Leary, his back against a palm tree-lined green screen, joined CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” on Earth Day to discuss his support of bitcoin mining amid concerns of climate change and why he thinks fellow corporate environmentalist Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk should run Twitter (TWTR).

Go green or go bust

In the past, O’Leary has criticized bitcoin mining, suggesting that companies should move to segregate "clean" BTC from dirty bitcoin mined using carbon-intensive processes.

  • Bitcoin miners use an estimated 2,260 kilowatt-hours to mine every bitcoin, according to database company Statista.

This process of separating “clean” bitcoin from “dirty” bitcoin may break bitcoin’s fungibility, experts have said, but could motivate certain investors who would otherwise enter the crypto industry but have made other ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) commitments to consider bitcoin, O’Leary said.

  • O’Leary said nuclear and hydro power will likely loom larger in the crypto-mining energy mix. Many new power plants have come on line in the U.S. this past year, largely in Texas, Oklahoma, upstate New York and the Pacific Northwest, drawing on renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.
  • Like other crypto-minded businessmen, O’Leary suggested that the energy-intensive proof-of-work algorithm used to mine bitcoin could drive wider adoption of green energy. Bitcoin, he said, “could bring capital to work there, build data centers for all sectors of the economy.”
  • Although politicians including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have been critical of the mining industry, O’Leary doesn’t think they will stymie development, especially once crypto miners realize it could be more profitable working within the regulatory system.
  • “The old ways of mining, ignoring politicians, policymakers, government, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) are over,” he said.

Twitter chatter

O’Leary also spoke out in support of Musk’s plan to buy Twitter, saying he thinks the billionaire could reboot the company.

  • “Twitter has done an abysmal job of creating value for shareholders since it went public just over nine years ago, creating zero value year after year,” O’Leary said.
  • He also criticized the microblogging site’s decision to influence conversations. “Silencing one voice and not another was a bad strategy” and “undermines the basis of democracy,” he said.
  • The social media platform needs “adult supervision,” and the biggest risk the company now faces “is that Elon Musk goes away.
  • O’Leary said the social media behemoth is the “definition of hell on Earth,” though he didn’t say if a feature like “dogecoin tipping” would make it any better.


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Fran is a reporter on the Layer 2 team, the site's magazine section. He has written for CNBC Make It and Inc. He owns no crypto holdings.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Fran is a reporter on the Layer 2 team, the site's magazine section. He has written for CNBC Make It and Inc. He owns no crypto holdings.

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