Shark Tank co-judge and chairman of O’Shares ETFs, Kevin O’Leary, has personally invested in bitcoin but he doesn’t think institutional investors and other high-net-worth investors are getting into the market yet.
Bitcoin’s Sustainability Issue Keeps Institutional Money Sidelined
One of the most popular narratives in the crypto space is that institutional investors are finally entering the crypto world in a grand style. Such investors have long been considered as a key part of the holy trinity of triumphant crypto adoption, alongside favorable government regulation and mass retail adoption.
Speaking on the TD Ameritrade Network, Kevin O’Leary, however, poured cold water on the idea that institutional clients are already getting into crypto.
“You bring on guests all the time that say, ‘Oh, institutions are getting into Bitcoin.’ That’s BS. They are not yet. There is no institution out there, any sovereign or pension plan, that’s doing this yet because they’re not over the ESG issues. They need sustainability.”
By ESG, O’Leary was referring to environmental, social, and corporate governance — factors that measure a company’s long-term sustainability. Notably, the pioneer cryptocurrency has come under fire after environmentally-conscious investors postulated that its massive energy usage exceeds its overall benefits. Tesla, for instance, halted bitcoin payments recently, citing these same environmental concerns with the mining of the crypto.
The Shark Tank judge believes bitcoin’s current Achilles heel is its carbon footprint, which is scaring off institutional investors looking for evidence that the asset is ethical and uses renewable energy. Yet, he hopes that these investors will join the crypto wagon after its environmental profile improves.
“If institutions get involved, then ‘Katy bar the doors’. That’s what you are betting on.”
Kevin O’Leary Is Bullish On DeFi
In early 2019, Kevin O’Leary dismissed bitcoin as “garbage” and a “worthless digital game”.
Fast forward to March 2021 and he announced that he had allocated 3% of his investment portfolio to bitcoin. Then days ago, O’Leary revealed during an episode of Anthony Pompliano’s ‘The Pomp Podcast’ that he has jumped onboard the DeFi market after pumping $20 million into a new DeFi startup called DeFi Venture — which he plans to rename to WonderFi.
Popularly known as Mr.Wonderful, O’Leary indicated that the DeFi sector interests him the most. The Canadian businessman noted that he plans to use DeFi to lend out assets in exchange for yield.
In his words:
“ Imagine if I could have over these years had a 5% yield on my gold, that would have been incredible. Well, I can on my crypto so that’s really what I’m doing in DeFi and I think I’ve got the best team in North America.”
O’Leary added that he has been working with some corporate DeFi people and has even opened accounts to manage his company’s balance sheet after allocating at least 5% into yield farming.