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Bitcoin ETFs buying carbon offsets: Is it ‘greenwashing?’

Bitcoin has faced criticism for the amount of energy used by computers to mine the cryptocurrency. Now, Ninepoint Partners is looking to give green-minded investors a way to have their crypto cake and eat it too.

The Toronto-based firm is putting a portion of its Bitcoin ETF’s management fees towards carbon offsets in an attempt to mitigate its environmental impact. The firm has not disclosed the size of that portion.

Tom Rand, author of Climate Capitalism, sees this putting pressure on the already tight carbon offsets market for a purpose that adds little economic value from the emissions it creates. He cautions that “greenwashing” is a significant risk for climate-conscious investors.

“If you're going to offset, you should be offsetting important economic activity, not Bitcoin,” Rand said. “The duckers and divers who are making money off of Bitcoin want to keep it spinning up. It is absolutely fundamental to the way Bitcoin is run that it will always be an energy hog on every transaction.”

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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