“Buy Bitcoin, Save The Planet,” Says Canadian Investment Firm
Calgary-based Accelerate Financial Technologies prepares to launch a Carbon-Negative Bitcoin ETF (TSX: ABTC). It plans to match each investment by planting trees to counteract the adverse environmental impact of crypto mining.
“Accelerate intends to sequester over 100% of the estimated carbon dioxide emissions attributable to bitcoin transactions that ABTC is indirectly exposed to by funding decarbonization initiatives including its global tree-planting program” the company states on its website.
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According to this Bloomberg report, Accelerate pledges to plant 3,450 trees for every C$1 million ($788,200) invested into its carbon-negative ETF. The company estimates that each investment would result in the offset of 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
The Environmental Impact Of Bitcoin Mining
There is an ongoing debate about the energy use of Bitcoin mining. While some companies have changed their tone in recent months, and are even building out cryptocurrency offerings for their clients, Bank of America has been conservative in its approach.
A report from Bank of America released earlier this year stated mining as an environmental concern. Bitcoin mining is an energy-intensive process that requires the use of massive computing rigs—and the corresponding hardware to cool down such machines—to process transactions and maintain the network. “A $1 billion fresh inflow into Bitcoin may cause CO2 to rise by the equivalent of 1.2 million (combustion engine) cars,” the report said.
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The report notes that the digital currency’s energy consumption will soon rival that of some of the largest countries in the world. Its estimated energy consumption has grown more than 200% in the past two years. A single bitcoin purchase at a price of ~$50,000 has a carbon footprint of 270 tons, the equivalent of 60 ICE [petrol/diesel] cars. Hence, it accounts for about 0.4% of global energy consumption at a $50,000 price point.
Accelerate claims its ABTC is eco-friendly because it trades bitcoin futures that don’t need to be mined. Also, the tree-planting campaign neutralizes carbon emissions and helps fight climate change. All these processes are independently verified by a third-party sustainability consultant. Julian Klymochko, Accelerate’s chief investment officer, pushed back against the notion that the company was falsely marketing the ABTC initiative as environmentally friendly. “We’re highly cognizant of the concept of greenwashing.” He said the firm preferred planting trees instead of buying so-called carbon credits to label the product carbon negative.
Approval Of Crypto ETFs
Canada was the first country to launch a Bitcoin ETF. Exchange-traded crypto funds have been approved in Canada, though not yet in the United States. Canadian regulators have given the green light to many firms applying for crypto ETFs in 2021, including offerings from Purpose Investments, Evolve Funds Group, and CI Global Asset Management.
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Accelerate applied for its Bitcoin ETF with Canadian securities regulators in February. The investment firm plans to list the product on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker ABTC, offering units in both U.S. and Canadian dollars.
The Accelerate Carbon-Negative ETF is for investors who want exposure to the performance of BTC and can tolerate a high level of investment risk. The ETF will begin trading Tuesday.