Speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2021 conference Thursday, Wood said that “a lot of institutional buying has been put on hold” and that “it was precipitated by the ESG movement and this notion, which was exacerbated by Elon Musk, that there are real environmental issues with bitcoin mining.
While volatile even under the best of circumstances, Bitcoin’s latest crash was precipitated by Musk tweeting on May 12 that Tesla Inc. TSLA,
would stop accepting bitcoin as payment for its cars, citing excessive use of fossil fuels in crypto mining. Musk has since said he’s been working with developers and miners on more environmentally friendly crypto-mining processes. Since then, some cryptos, including bitcoin BTCUSD,
lost more than 50% of their value from recent peaks
“Elon has probably received a few calls from institutions,” Wood said in the CoinDesk interview, noting that BlackRock Inc. BLK,
is Tesla’s third largest shareholder.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink “focuses on ESG and in particular climate change,” she said. “I’m sure BlackRock has registered complaints and maybe there are some really big holders in Europe who are extremely sensitive to this.”
Investors have flocked to ESG-themed assets – environmental, social and governance – in recent years as socially responsible investing has gained momentum.
See: Investors may be willing to sacrifice returns for ESG – but this is where they didn’t have to, says Deutsche Bank
Recent moves aside, Wood predicted that Musk would be a positive force for bitcoin in the long run and could even help reduce his environmental footprint. “He encouraged a lot more conversation, a lot more analytical thinking. And I believe he’s going to be part of the process, ”she said.
Since the fall last weekend, bitcoin prices have risen 13% over the past five days, although they are still down around 30% over the past month. Ethereum ETHUSD,
rallied over 30% this week, and dogecoin DOGEUSD,
is up 11%; both made slight gains over the past month, according to Kraken data.
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