Cryptocurrencies existing within the digital realm might not appear to pose a significant threat to the environment. However, this assumption is far from accurate. For example, Bitcoin’s energy usage generates approximately 65 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Paylesspower conducted an ESG survey among crypto investors using that narrative.
Crypto Investors and Environmental Awareness
Most cryptocurrency investors (53%) expressed concern for the environment, with 82% identifying themselves as ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investors. Considering 87% of respondents believed cryptocurrency’s energy usage harms the environment, one might expect widespread opposition.
Nevertheless, a disconnect exists between environmental concerns and cryptocurrency support. About 71% of investors supported crypto’s energy consumption, with 52% believing it would benefit the environment. Intriguingly, some ESG investors also have financial stakes in cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin Dominance and the Emergence of Green Coins
Both ESG and non-ESG investors held more Bitcoin than any other cryptocurrency, with 45% and 54%, respectively, reporting ownership. With its value skyrocketing from $700 six years ago to nearly $16,000 as of November 21, 2022, Bitcoin has become the most expensive cryptocurrency in the market.
Some cryptocurrencies, dubbed “green coins,” demand less energy and offer more sustainable alternatives for the planet. ESG investors owned six of the top 10 energy-efficient coins, while non-ESG investors owned four. Interestingly, Ethereum, the second most-owned coin by non-ESG investors, boasts the second-highest market cap and is considered a green, energy-efficient option.
Crypto Mining and Investor Awareness
A significant number of investors (35%) admitted to not understanding the workings of crypto mining, which involves specialized computers generating new currencies while securing and verifying the blockchain. However, among those familiar with the process (65%), ESG investors were the most knowledgeable (71%).
Despite mining’s massive energy requirements, 80% of respondents claimed awareness of this issue. However, 57% were only somewhat aware of its environmental impact. Even with full awareness, 48% of cryptocurrency investors would continue purchasing cryptocurrencies. Notably, 41% of ESG investors expressed the same sentiment.
The NFT Conundrum and Sustainable Crypto Knowledge
Regarding NFTs (non-fungible tokens), 55% of respondents believed their creation harmed the environment. NFT creation can be energy-intensive, though energy-efficient NFTs exist on Ethereum, Solana, and Algorand blockchains. Regardless, 58% of NFT investors would continue collecting them, even if they believed it would make a difference environmentally.
Investors concerned about the environment should expand their knowledge of sustainable cryptocurrencies. Almost half (47%) of the respondents could not identify green coins from 20 options. Only 44% could pinpoint the most environmentally friendly coins, with ESG investors being 35% more likely to do so than non-ESG investors.
Over 70% of respondents expressed interest in environmentally friendly cryptocurrencies, with Algorand, IOTA, and Nano emerging as the top-perceived green coins. However, despite Bitcoin being frequently identified as energy-efficient, it is, in fact, not among the greenest options.
Embracing Greener Cryptocurrency Alternatives
Crypto investments and their environmental impact have become a crucial topic of discussion. While most investors know the energy consumption associated with cryptocurrencies, a significant portion lacks in-depth knowledge. Green coins and energy-efficient NFTs offer potential alternatives for investors concerned about the environment.
To make informed decisions, investors should familiarize themselves with sustainable cryptocurrencies and consider diversifying their portfolios to include more environmentally friendly options.
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