Leading corporations are reluctant to add crypto to their balance sheets because of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues, entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary said during CoinDesk’s Consensus 2021 conference Monday. 

Less than 1% of institutions globally actually carry crypto as an asset class, he noted, and for that to change miners need to prove their coins are created sustainably, O’Leary said.

“Most of these institutions have both ethics and sustainability committees that filter offerings before they’re allocated on the investment committee. They’re not just singling out crypto,” he said.

“We’re at the nascent beginning of this interest. Bitcoin is an asset that is here to stay, and now it’s got to get in sync with what institutions want before they buy.”

Elon Musk recently announced that Tesla has rescinded the option to purchase electric vehicles with bitcoin due to sustainability concerns, another example of how bitcoin’s environmental impact has been rising up the issue agenda of late.

O’Leary is interested in “tagging,” or wrapping bitcoin that has been mined sustainably, and called upon miners to approach institutions with a plan.

While the idea sounds like a win-win, the use of mining pools and the essential fungibility of BTC has drawn skepticism from miners and prominent members of the industry. Nic Carter has called so-called “clean bitcoin” a chimera: something more imaginary than real. 

Still, O’Leary, a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, is eyeing opportunities to support firms that can offer resources and structure for green mining. Greener practices, he says, will help stoke demand and drive up asset prices. 

“That is what institutions want, and when that dam gets released the amount of capital that will come into bitcoin… it’ll be the reason it goes to a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand.”

“Everybody that owns bitcoin today, regardless of how it was mined, is incentivized to solve this problem for one reason alone, price appreciation.”

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