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Does Crypto Have a Place in an ESG Portfolio?

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Blockworks

Fri, Jan 14, 2022

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Institutional investors may not be as concerned about ESG when it comes to crypto allocation as they once were Bitcoin mining continues to dominate ESG discussions around crypto investing Institutional investors that have shied away from cryptocurrencies on concerns that the asset class did not meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards are having a change of heart, analysts say.

“If you had asked me a year ago about ESG, I would have said yes, it is a primary concern, especially since it was such a hot topic in the media,” said Martha Reyes, head of research at Bequant.

“Now, I don’t think ESG is a primary concern, but it is still relevant.” Institutional investors are more concerned with regulation and security than ESG when it comes to digital assets, Reyes said.

“While ESG does come up in conversations I have, it comes up a lot less than I think what people think it does,” said Chris Kuiper, head of research at Fidelity Digital Assets.

“I don’t know if this is just because it’s not as big of a concern or because these investors are just still so early on their journey and they have not gotten to ESG yet.” Of the ESG concerns that do exist around crypto investing, environmental concerns come up the most, experts agree.

“We have conversations with institutions that have questions and concerns about ESG and what I find curious is there tends to be a specific focus on the ‘E’ component and less of a focus on the ‘S’ and the ‘G’ components,” said Christine Sandler, head of sales and marketing at Fidelity Digital Assets.

The social and economic value of digital asset technology needs to be considered in discussions of energy usage and ESG concerns, he said.

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