Ethereum Tops New Crypto ESG Ranking, Bitcoin Slammed for Heavy Energy Usage

Crypto data firm CCData released the first institutional-grade scoring system that evaluates digital assets focusing on environmental, social and governance aspects.

AccessTimeIconJul 13, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Jul 13, 2023 at 10:07 a.m. UTC

Ethereum topped the first institutional-grade crypto ESG ranking followed by Solana and Cardano, while Bitcoin lagged due to its heavy energy usage, according to crypto data firm CCData’s research.

CCData’s inaugural ESG Benchmark, created in unison with the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI), was published on Thursday. It evaluated 40 of the largest, most liquid digital assets assessing parameters such as decentralization, security and climate impact.

The role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) mandates in investments is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially among institutional investors and large asset management firms. ESG-related assets under management could reach 33.9 trillion by 2026, a fifth of all investments globally, global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) forecasted in a report late last year.

Attendees at CoinDesk’s Consensus conference said that if crypto wants to capture new institutional money, it should also embrace ESG instead of hiding from it, the Consensus @ Consensus report found. Notably, asset management giant BlackRock, which is at the forefront of the push to register a spot bitcoin ETF, is a large proponent of ESG-focused investments.

CCData created the new crypto-focused scoring framework to cater to this increased demand.

“The ESG Benchmark is a critical first step toward improving the resilience of the industry in the face of ESG challenges and criticisms from regulators, policymakers and media, who consider ESG requirements a top priority,” the report said.

The benchmark measured environmental, social and governance risks for and opportunities of digital assets, taking into account a range of metrics including decentralization, energy consumption, community engagement. Then, the points for each metric were aggregated and weighted for an overall score of maximum 100 points, making up the final grade from AA (best) and E (worst).

Assets with a BB or better grade were considered top-tier in the report.

Ethereum was the only blockchain that earned an AA grade, performing well in all three ESG factors. This is partly attributed to the network’s recent transition to proof-of-stake technology, according to the report, which slashed energy consumption and made miners obsolete.

Solana, Cardano and Polkadot excelled in decentralization, granting them a top-tier A grade.

Bitcoin received a B grade, earning high scores in social and governance aspects but slammed for its heavy energy consumption and hardware need.

“This grading does not connote overall superiority, instead it represents a means of ranking digital assets according to ESG parameters,” the report said. “[It] equips investors with the tools needed to make informed decisions and allocate resources to assets which hold strong ESG scores.

Edited by Oliver Knight.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.