Green Finance

The ongoing debate about crypto’s energy cost, sustainable finance’s greenwashing, and Aspiration launches tree-planting credit card

  • Kicking off Tearsheet's Green Finance newsletter.
  • Corporate responsibility, blockchain, products and services -- at the intersection of finance and the environment.
close

Email a Friend

The ongoing debate about crypto’s energy cost, sustainable finance’s greenwashing, and Aspiration launches tree-planting credit card

Tearsheet’s Green Finance newsletter is about the intersection of money and the environment. We’ll be in your inbox every other week, and share what we’re currently thinking about, and what’s been happening at three key areas in the intersection: corporate responsibility, blockchain, and green products and services. You can subscribe here.

With a $2+ trillion market cap, crypto is an unignorable financial force. The amount of energy it takes to power crypto is a challenge, or an opportunity — depends who you ask. Not too long ago we spoke to Paxos’ CEO Charles Cascarilla about the common likening of crypto’s energy cost to that of a whole (small) country. He said, ‘We spend more energy digging gold out of the ground than mining crypto.’ And in essence — it’s worth it. 

In a recent NYT podcast, data scientist Alex de Vries called ‘sustainable crypto mining’ a paradox, an impossibility. Mining currencies via proof of work — such as with Bitcoin and Ethereum, which have the largest market cap today —  is a process fundamentally based on useless calculations, ie. energy waste. These digital assets come with a very tangible environmental impact.

Source: Source: Digiconomist & Visual Capitalist

Currencies validated via proof of stake, on the other hand, don’t tax the environment nearly as much, and are competing for audience favorites, according to Tezos creator Kathleen Breitman. 

So, is crypto’s promise of economic democracy worth the energy cost? Do we just need to put it in perspective? Or, will we realize in hindsight that crypto mining has been waging unnecessary costs on our environment, and that the market doesn’t always know best?

Corporate responsibility

Blockchain

  • Researchers at IST Austria develop building blocks for sustainable blockchain
  • Could blockchain be the key that unlocks the SDGs?
  • Ripple and Nelnet announce $44 million clean energy fund for a more sustainable future
  • Open Mineral raises $33 million for metal commodity trading platform

Green products and services

  • Aspiration launches first credit card, letting users earn cash back and plant trees with every purchase
  • Mastercard launches global Sustainability Innovation Lab
  • Crédito Agrícola Group taps Meniga for carbon tracking tool
  • Santander cards go green in Spain
  • Sugi lets users offset carbon impact of investments in the UK
  • HSBC brings first-of-its-kind sustainable finance product suite to Canadian businesses

0 comments on “The ongoing debate about crypto’s energy cost, sustainable finance’s greenwashing, and Aspiration launches tree-planting credit card”

Green Finance

Transparency is important but not enough for a greener financial system

  • Despite being an important step, transparency around climate impacts is not enough to push investments in the green sector.
  • The financial sector needs support to create a stronger ecosystem of environmentally friendly assets that can absorb large amounts of capital.
Iulia Ciutina | December 02, 2021
Green Finance

The defining moment of COP26, environmental pushback on NFTs, Visa shows environmental impact of purchases

  • COP26 was a seminal moment in the emergence of green finance.
  • Discord users pushback on NFTs, Visa shows environmental impact of purchases, and more.
Iulia Ciutina | November 22, 2021
Green Finance

What happened at COP26? Follow the money.

  • The COP26 summit ended with commitments to halt deforestation, “phase down” coal power plants, and $130 trillion in private capital funding.
  • Banks pledged to focus more on sustainable investments, but some remain skeptical on the progress actually achieved.
Iulia Ciutina | November 19, 2021
Green Finance

Climate change’s impact on financial services, opportunities in green finance, and reducing climate change with a credit card

  • This installment of the Green Finance newsletter covers a wide range of topics, from carbon offsets to the COP26 conference
  • It's early days for financial services addressing climate change and the industry's influence on decarbonization.
Rebecca Alma Cohen | November 05, 2021
Green Finance

‘Monitor, manage, and offset’: Behind the opportunities in the growing green finance market

  • The rising demand for climate-conscious products is creating a new wave of opportunities for the financial sector.
  • Climate-centric software enables banks to calculate and offset their carbon footprint.
Iulia Ciutina | November 04, 2021
More Articles