Viridi Funds Launches RIGZ Cleaner Energy Crypto-Mining ETF

Environmental technology concept.
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Viridi Funds has launched the Viridi Cleaner Energy Crypto-Mining & Semiconductor ETF, focused on investments within the cryptocurrency mining and mining infrastructure industries.

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The launch comes amid renewed criticism about Bitcoin’s enormous carbon footprint. According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF), Bitcoin currently consumes around 110 Terawatt Hours per year — 0.55% of global electricity production.

The new fund, RIGZ, was created by Viridi to align profit with purpose, as a growing number of investors are keen to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency sector through regulated investment vehicles, but also want to see active leadership and commitment to environmental sustainability, according to a statement.

“Bitcoin mining is a sector that is particularly well suited to such an investment product as, according to recent figures, over 50% of North American bitcoin mining is done using renewable energy sources, which is a trend that Viridi hopes to encourage through products like RIGZ,” according to the statement.

David Grasso, CEO of Bold TV, tells GOBankingRates that energy consumption for cryptocurrency mining has recently become an international controversy.

“From the outright ban in China, to destroying computers meant for mining in Malaysia, we’re seeing governments around the world running low on patience for the energy-intensive activity,” Grasso says. “At the same time, the public is growing increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of cryptocurrency. Eco-friendly crypto is a much-needed innovation amidst global skepticism about the long-term sustainability of cryptocurrency mining.”

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Wes Fulford, CEO of Viridi Funds, said in a statement that the company launched the ETF to provide investors with an investment vehicle that attempts to align purpose and profit by investing in the infrastructure that underpins the entire ecosystem with sustainability in mind.

“Miners provide an essential service to cryptocurrency networks, and leading operators are able to generate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at a fraction of prevailing market prices,” he said in the statement.

The sentiment is echoed by several industry experts. Eric Schiffer, CEO of The Patriarch Organization, tells GOBankinkRates that “with strong ESG investor interest, investment opportunities that align sustainable strategies with crypto will attract fund managers resistant to crypto because of their desire to align with their environmental charter.”

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The topic was also recently brought up this week at the B Word Conference. Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood addressed the current issue of institutions facing question about ESG around Bitcoin, but she said that in terms of the social aspect, from Ark Invest’s point of view, Bitcoin is saving lives as it is allowing access to payment technologies around the world without friction and “egregious fees.”

During the same panel, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also addressed the issue and the electric vehicle company’s reversal on accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment due to its energy usage, which can be summed us as follows according to a statement Musk made at the time of the announcement:

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“We are concerned about the rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel. Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.”

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