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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

Bitcoin’s True Social Cost Is Impossible to Ignore

The cryptocurrency’s future growth is now linked inextricably to real-world sustainability issues that go beyond carbon.

Down the mine.

Down the mine.

Photo: Bloomberg

As Bitcoin attempts its latest price rebound after a 40% slump in three days, its long-term potential as an investable asset is becoming linked inextricably to its cost for the rest of society.

This is increasing the pressure on policy makers to do more. The U.S. Federal Reserve’s Lael Brainard nodded to this on Monday, when she warned that a proliferation of alternative payments systems might lead to fragmentation and increased costs for households and businesses, suggesting there was a need to expand crypto’s regulatory “perimeter.”