Celebrity investor Kevin O’Leary says he will only buy bitcoin mined sustainably in countries that use clean energy — and not “blood coin” mined in China.
“I see over the next year or two, two kinds of coin,” he told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Monday. “Blood coin from China, (and) clean coin mined sustainably in countries that use hydroelectricity, not coal.”
Bitcoin mining is extremely energy intensive, and around 65% of the world’s bitcoin was mined in China as of April 2020, according to Statista.
“I’m going on the side of clean coin,” said O’Leary.
O’Leary did not elaborate on where he acquires “clean” bitcoin, but some countries use hydroelectric power more widely than others, and there are entities that claim to mine cryptocurrencies in a sustainable way.
The chairman of O’Shares ETFs once called bitcoin “garbage,” but changed his mind more recently and said he would allocate 3% of his personal portfolio to the cryptocurrency, according to a CoinDesk report.
O’Leary said he was “inundated” by institutions asking if he was buying “blood coin from China” after he said he wanted to invest in bitcoin.
Increasingly, large institutions impose restrictions on assets they will hold in order to comply with environmental and corporate governance rules. Concerns include human rights and carbon emissions. O’Leary said whether products are made in China is also a consideration.
“All these issues … have now come to the fore on bitcoin,” he said. “Institutions will not buy coin mined in China, coin mined using coal to burn for electricity, coin mined in countries with sanctions on them.”
Institutions are saying that they don’t want to endorse China because of issues with human rights, he added.
O’Leary said personally, he’s working to ensure every coin he owns is compliant.
“I’m not buying coin unless I know where it was mined, when it was mined, the provenance of it,” he said. “Not in China. No blood coin for me.”