- London-based money manager labels Bitcoin
ETF with an ESG tag.
- Jacobi’s ETF claims to be the first of its kind under EU’s Article 8.
- Critics question the validity of using RECs for decarbonization.
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The introduction of a Bitcoin ETF carrying an ESG label sparks debate among environmentalists and financial experts about its validity and intentions.
Jacobi’s Groundbreaking ETF
A London-based money manager, Jacobi Asset Management, announced its Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF (Ticker: BCOIN NA) as an Article 8 fund under EU regulations. This denotes the ETF’s goal to “promote” ESG standards, a first in the realm of Bitcoin-based ETFs.
Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption Dilemma
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Mining Bitcoin requires an immense amount of energy. The process consumes approximately 140 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, which is on par with Norway’s total energy generation in 2022. While some sources suggest that a significant portion of Bitcoin mining utilizes sustainable energy, estimates vary widely and remain a topic of debate.
Decarbonization via Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
Jacobi claims their ETF is an ESG product due to investments in RECs. Their stance is that by buying these certificates, they can support enough renewable energy projects to offset the carbon footprint of the Bitcoin mining process associated with the ETF. However, this claim is met with skepticism from experts in the field.
Critics Question the ESG Label
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Matthew Brander, an academic specializing in carbon accounting, challenges the notion that RECs can be used as a credible decarbonization strategy. Moreover, concerns arise when these certificates are unbundled, which is the case with Jacobi’s RECs. Anders Bjørn, an expert in the domain, believes the decarbonization claim only stands if Jacobi can prove that their REC purchases directly result in renewable energy generation—a claim that remains under scrutiny.
As the finance world grapples with the integration of sustainability and cryptocurrency, the introduction of an ESG-labeled Bitcoin ETF by Jacobi Asset Management remains a contentious issue. Whether such ETFs can genuinely align with ESG standards is yet to be determined, but this move undoubtedly ignites further discussions about the intersection of finance, technology, and sustainability.