Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said he expects the sourcing of bitcoin to become analogous to “blood diamonds” from the perspective of environmental activists.
“I have this new concern, because I’ve had a barrage of calls from institutional clients,” O’Leary said in a Monday interview with Coindesk.
He explained that he was investing in bitcoin mining operations in anticipation of the controversy. “Let’s say you’re mining and you’re not quite carbon neutral. You need an upgrade in your hardware, you need a couple of million dollars. Come to me. I’ll invest. We’ll do it together, I’ll broaden your technology to make it more efficient, and then I will get a royalty … in the form of ‘virgin’ coin that I helped actually mine.”
O’Leary, a Canadian citizen and co-star of CNBC’s Shark Tank, disclosed last month that he had invested 3 percent of his portfolio in bitcoin and Ethereum beginning in 2017, but that he had kept mum due to his fear of regulators taking issue with him for talking about it. He also said on Monday that the idea of “blood coin” would become similar to “blood diamonds,” and that there would be a “premium” on cryptocurrency “that you can say was mined ethically, was mined on a sustainable mandate … and you know the provenance of it.”
More than 18 million bitcoins have been mined to date out of about 21 million that will eventually be in circulation, although the process of creating the final 3 million will take until about 2140. Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index indicates the energy being devoted to that task is greater than the amount used by some countries, with China accounting for the most.
O’Leary said he took issue with Chinese miners for more than one reason.
“We need to level the playing field,” he said. “Why should I support their miners, who don’t give a damn how much electricity they use or how people are treated in the country where it’s being mined?”
Watch above via Coindesk.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]