ESG is an investing strategy that takes into account environmental, social and corporate governance factors in addition to financial analysis. It is popular with major pension funds that invest the retirements of millions of workers as well as retail investors. Bitcoin miners have been hearing this phrase more lately.
Morgan Stanley’s ESG Review Group recently observed the growing popularity of cryptocurrency has created a new wrinkle for investors—how to balance its potential upside against its inherent environmental and social impacts. Among some of the perspectives Morgan Stanley published in its findings:
“Cryptocurrencies could be one way to increase access to financial systems for the unbanked. Anyone with a smartphone or laptop and internet connection can access cryptocurrencies, which arguably is a lower requirement than that of traditional bank accounts.”
“Cryptocurrencies can support faster and more affordable cross-border transactions—specifically, giving people an easier way to send money to relatives in other countries— and may be a better alternative in countries with volatile or depreciating local currencies.”
“In 2021, an estimated $14 billion of cryptocurrency, or just 0.15% of crypto volume traded, was associated with criminal activity.”
Analysts covering cryptocurrency and sustainability at Morgan Stanley argue that new crypto regulations are likely to change the rules of investing in crypto-related products and likely the scope of services offered around cryptocurrency as well.
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CoinGate and BitMart – two cryptocurrency exchange platforms – relisted XRP for trading recently. XRP is the token used by Ripple. According to Ripple’s website, their corporate mission is, “Build breakthrough crypto solutions for a world without economic borders. Through blockchain technology, Ripple enables global financial institutions, businesses, governments, and developers to move, manage and tokenize value, helping to unlock greater economic opportunity for everyone, everywhere.
Many exchanges – including Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken – suspended XRP trading after the SEC announced an enforcement action against XRP. XRP is the native cryptocurrency of XRP Ledger, which is an open-source, public blockchain designed to facilitate faster and cheaper payments. Trading XRP remains suspended on the majority of exchanges.
Sending payments overseas using the legacy financial system typically takes one to four business days and can be expensive. If a person uses XRP as a bridging currency, it’s possible to settle cross-border transactions in less than five seconds on the open-source XRP Ledger blockchain at a fraction of the cost of the more traditional methods, according to CoinDesk.
The case is In re Celsius Network LLC, No. 22-10964 (MG).