Canada-based global investment research firm BCA Research has pointed to several factors that pose a long-term threat to bitcoin‘s price.
The energy-intensive nature of bitcoin mining and potential regulatory hurdles could hamper bitcoin’s progress to the point where the cryptocurrency could end up “losing most its value over time,” BCA Research said, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday.
According to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, bitcoin’s annualized electricity consumption now equals Argentina’s annual carbon footprint.
A Bloomberg article recently called bitcoin mining a “dirty business,” though CoinDesk columnist Nic Carter called the analysis “flawed.” And U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last month that bitcoin is a “highly speculative asset” and an “extremely inefficient” way to conduct monetary transactions.
BCA Research’s chief market strategist, Peter Berezin, wrote in the report released Friday that the expense and slowness of bitcoin transactions make it “unsuitable as a medium of exchange,” further warning that environmental, social, and governance-focused (ESG) funds are likely to shun companies associated with the top cryptocurrency.
“As ESG funds start to flee [b]itcoin, its price will begin a downward spiral. Stay away,” Berezin noted.
According to the research firm, governments will work against bitcoin in a bid to avoid losing billions of dollars in revenue from seigniorage – the difference between the face value of money and the cost to produce it.
But Berezin’s warning is likely overblown, as major listed U.S. firms have been betting on bitcoin in recent months as a way to hedge against inflation and a devaluing dollar. Most notably, U.S. electric car maker Tesla, a Fortune 500 company, disclosed a $1.5 billion bitcoin investment last month, raising hopes of more widespread corporate involvement.
Meanwhile, regulatory frameworks for crypto assets are seen as a positive for institutional adoption, and only a few nations have, or are planning to bring in, extreme restrictions on digital currencies.