Tuesday, December 19, 2023
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Bitcoin Mania Is Relentless With ETF Upstart Touting Carbon Credits

An ETF startup is trying to launch a Bitcoin fund, but with what looks to be an environmentally friendly twist amid continued scrutiny the industry faces around its potentially harmful impacts.

Miami-based 7RCC Global Inc., in its first-ever application, proposes to bring to market a fund that would have roughly 80% of its assets invested in Bitcoin and the rest in carbon-credit futures, which are issued with the hope of reducing greenhouse gases over time, according to the filing.

“If someone wants Bitcoin exposure and is worried about the energy usage, this could give cover for those investors in an easy-to-access pre-packaged trade,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart.

Bitcoin transactions are processed by miners, which is crypto slang for companies that operate a vast array of computers. Miners compete to confirm transactions and get new coins awarded in return — but they can require huge amounts of energy to run.

The largest digital token has been under scrutiny for the environmental harm its mining produces, with some researchers arguing that its network of computers uses as much energy as some developed countries. A New York Times investigation published earlier this year said Bitcoin mines cause “immense pollution” and the public, in many instances, ends up paying the price. More recently, the debate has centered around water usage tied to mining.

Cryptocurrency fans, however, dispute these types of allegations, arguing that mining Bitcoin is negligible when compared with pollution from car emissions, for example. And some say the energy used to mine will soon come from sources that otherwise would have gone to waste.

Carbon Offsets

If launched, 7RCC’s fund would trade under the ticker BTCK. Crypto firm Gemini would serve as custodian. Gemini, in a blog post, said that 7RCC “aims to build a bridge between the digital asset industry and ESG-conscious investors.”

Carbon offsets offer a way for companies to meet environmental goals. They’re typically tradable “rights” or certificates linked to activities that lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The industry, however, is currently the focus of some controversy, as the market has drawn ire for its purported failure to live up to the carbon-neutral claims that the units underpin. For instance, the chief executive officer of South Pole, the biggest seller of carbon offsets, recently stepped down as the firm pledged to look into allegations of greenwashing.

7RCC’s filing adds it to the list of more than 10 other issuers trying their hand at getting a spot-Bitcoin fund off the ground in the US. Most of the existing applications — which many analysts are hoping the Securities and Exchange Commission green-lights soon — propose to hold Bitcoin directly. Some expect a spot fund to be approved as early as January.



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