Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary is a serial entrepreneur, author, and chairman of O’Shares, a wealth management firm, as well as a major cryptocurrency investor. The Canadian-born TV personality is one of the world’s wealthiest businessmen, with a net worth of $400 million.
On Earth Day, O’Leary appeared on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” with his back to a palm tree-lined green screen to discuss his support for bitcoin mining in the face of climate change concerns, as well as why he believes Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk should run Twitter (TWTR).
O’Leary has previously criticized bitcoin mining, arguing that businesses should move to separate clean BTC from dirty BTC mined using carbon-intensive processes.
According to the database company Statista, bitcoin miners use an estimated 2,260 kilowatt-hours to mine each bitcoin.
This process of separating “clean” bitcoin from dirty bitcoin may jeopardize bitcoin’s fungibility, according to experts, but it may encourage certain investors who would otherwise enter the crypto industry but have made other ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) commitments to consider bitcoin, according to O’Leary.
Nuclear and hydropower, according to O’Leary, will likely play a larger role in the crypto-mining energy mix. Many new power plants have come online in the United States in the last year, primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, upstate New York, and the Pacific Northwest, using both renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.
O’Leary, like other crypto-minded businessmen, proposed that the energy-intensive proof-of-work algorithm used to mine bitcoin could drive greater adoption of green energy. Bitcoin, he claimed, could put capital to work there, allowing it to build data centers for all sectors of the economy.
Although politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have been critical of the mining industry, O’Leary believes they will not stifle growth, especially once crypto miners realize it may be more profitable to work within the regulatory system.