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.

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


  • 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

A Klarna case study: Sustainability as a business value and as a value for business

  • Consumer products actively contribute to climate change, and ecommerce companies are playing their own role in worsening the climate.
  • Klarna isn't turning a blind eye to its corporate responsibilities, encouraging conscious buying which underscores its efforts to combat climate change.
Rabab Ahsan | September 26, 2023
Green Finance

Carbon credits have potential…. and potential problems

  • At our current of emissions we will surpass our carbon emission limits within the decade.
  • Banks have a crucial role to play in this emerging industry of carbon offsets, but there are rising concerns about efficacy and transparency in this nascent space.
Rabab Ahsan | August 21, 2023
Green Finance

Most consumers are willing to pay more for green finance products, but banks can’t differentiate them

  • Consumers are willing to put money where their convictions are when it comes to combatting the climate crisis.
  • However, limited understanding of product offerings and inability to differentiate in green financial products may be leading to an intention-action gap.
Rabab Ahsan | May 03, 2023
Green Finance

Doconomy acquires fellow Swedish fintech Dreams

  • Doconomy, a Swedish carbon data company that helps brands and consumers measure, understand, and reduce their carbon footprint - announced its acquisition of Dreams Technology.
  • The company plans to create a great digital experience that promotes financial wellbeing, encourages sustainable consumption choices and effectuates climate action at scale.
Iulia Ciutina | February 28, 2023
Green Finance, Member Exclusive

Tearsheet Briefing: ESG is at a crossroads

  • The role of finance and ESG in the battle against climate change is turning into a heated discussion across the political spectrum, with both parties aiming to encode their own agenda into law.
  • As the lines are being drawn, one thing is for sure - 2023 will bring a new wave of climate disclosures and regulation.
Iulia Ciutina | February 17, 2023
More Articles