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Wall Street’s ESG Gold Rush Has Conjured a ‘Green Bitcoin’

The lack of regulatory oversight in this burgeoning corner of capital markets is yielding predictable results.

Bitcoins As Cryptocurrency Halts Decline After Drubbing on China's Offerings Ban

Photographer: Bloomberg 

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The list of so-called climate-friendly investment products is getting longer by the day.

In just the past week, officials at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said they’re looking into the prospect of developing green equity for clients, and a group of crypto-miners said they’re considering the sale of “green Bitcoin.”

It’s clear that demand for these types of investments—at least at the moment—is enormous. One only has to look at the market for green bonds, where issuance this year is almost triple what it was a year ago, and ESG-focused exchange-traded funds, which have attracted net inflows for 50 straight weeks.

It’s also clear that there’s increasing concern about the lack of consistent regulatory oversight in this corner of capital markets. Earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that it plans to move ahead quickly on requiring new corporate disclosures on climate change and other environmental, social and governance factors.

And then last week, President Joe Biden ordered the creation of a strategy to quantify the risk climate change poses to both public and private financial assets. In the U.K., Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is pushing the Group of Seven economies to impose mandatory reporting of environmental risks on their big companies.