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How to invest in crypto and ESG during the volatile summer doldrums

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As the world reopens and traders flock to the beaches, investing during the illiquid summer months is already proving to be a challenge with the uptick in volatility in various sectors and asset classes. Keith Bliss, president of Capital2Market, joins Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre to help navigate this unique market environment, identifying investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies, ESG, specialized commodity plays, and stocks. Jared demonstrates how to leverage the power of Yahoo Finance Plus for technicals, fundamentals and portfolio management.

Video Transcript


JARED BLIKRE: Thank you all for joining our 12th Yahoo Finance Plus webinar. It's now officially been one year. And today, we're going to talk about how to invest in crypto and ESG during the volatile summer doldrums. Just a quick note on the title. It caused some confusion out there. Yes, summer doldrums are a boring time. And just look what the S&P 500 is doing today, nothing.

But we got pockets of volatility that we're going to talk about-- crypto, meme stocks, and the like. And for that, Keith Bliss is going to join us in a couple of minutes. He's the Capital2Market president, a friend to all of us here at Yahoo Finance.

And we're going to break down the market action with an emphasis on investor education. No investment advice is being given herein. We're not offering any securities. This is simply to make you a better investor, if we can do that.

We're also going to show you how to get the most out of Yahoo Finance Plus, how you can use it to filter for investment opportunities, including ESG rankings, something particular and proprietary to Yahoo Finance Plus data. And we're going to show you how to use it to analyze your portfolio.

Now, if you've been to one of these webinars before, you know the drill. But here's how it goes-- you're going to be able to interact with us in real time. Right after this, we're going to take our first poll. That's going to be on the right-hand side. So it's over there. You're going to see a little tab for that. You can click that. In another tab, you can ask us questions using your name or anonymously. That is your choice.

So let's start off with our first poll. And that is, how many times has Bitcoin dropped 80% or more? Answer surprised me. Is it 0, never, one, two, three, four, or five times? All right. I want to bring in Keith Bliss now, because I just want to kind of get your overview of the market situation. I want to start with crypto. A lot of investors are taking a bath right now, but we bounced off 30,000 basically twice now. What do you see in this space and how are you interpreting it?

KEITH BLISS: Yeah, Jared. Well, first off, thanks so much for having me on the webinar. We've been trying to get this teed up for a while. So I'm really thankful that you brought me on. And you are correct. I love Yahoo Finance and all the people that have been on with. You guys are knowledgeable and, of course, the largest financial news platform in the world. So always happy to share what I think are good insights. We'll let the audience decide on that.

But in response to your question, yeah, listen. Cryptocurrencies, by their very nature, are going to be volatile because unlike a share of stock in most cases, you don't have the fundamental underpinning behind them. Sure, you have some of the cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and the others that are based on what the companies are actually doing, and their fortunes will rise and fall based upon that. But if you take a look at Bitcoin, it is truly an asset or a currency, if you will, that moves with trends, moves with technical dynamics in many cases.

And listen, it's like a lot of micro-cap stocks or small-cap stocks that may have a lot of volume but can trade violently one way or the other. You certainly need to go in this with your eyes wide open, that you could be in for a wild ride. And knowing where your cost basis is, of course, is important.

But listen, cryptocurrencies, I believe, are here to stay. And they will be a good asset class and eventually we'll get to the point where they do become valuable inside of the traditional economy. We need to realize that the white paper for Bitcoin was only written 12 years ago. And look at where we are now with all these cryptocurrencies.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. That's a great point. We have a clip of Jeff Gundlach interviewed by our own Julia La Roche here. I want to tee that up. And he's talking about cryptocurrency and also the institutionalization of it. Let's take a listen.

JEFF GUNDLACH: A lot of people are just playing with this funny money. And when you give people money that don't need it, which unfortunately we've been doing a lot, they feel like they're playing with the house's money.

So it actually does resemble a casino to them psychologically. Bitcoin, I thought was really low at the beginning of 2020. I was really bullish on it. I went so far as to say, I think it's going to go to 15,000 when it was at 4,000.

And I looked like an idiot by the summer, because it was still languishing at around 5,000 or so. But then all of a sudden, it blew right through 15,000 and all of a sudden it was 23,000. And that's what I turned to neutral on it, too early obviously, because it's now double that and it was nearly triple that. But it's moving around like crazy.

This is all based upon speculative fever. It's almost like every era of really highly valued markets, after they've run a lot, has some sort of a poster child, if you will. It was like some of the crazy dot coms that had no revenue, that were coming to market very successfully in the year 1999. Here, I think it's really these cryptos.

JARED BLIKRE: These cryptos. Well, I'm going to pull up-- I know, it's kind of funny to listen to it in that way-- I'm going to pull up a chart here of Bitcoin that I've marked some-- I got some technical stuff on here. And one of the tools I use, Keith, is Anchored VWAP.

Everybody has their own tools. Anchored VWAP just is kind of a device that allows me to see from a, let's see what the average price is. What is the average position? Are people in the money? Are they out of the money? So anybody who bought here in this, from this top, you can see their average position is about 48,000.

And for me, for my work, I'm not going to get too excited about Bitcoin again until we see some of these break-even, some of these Anchored VWAP lines reconquered. Here's one. This is purple lines from the December breakout.

And that happens to go to 45,000. And I'll tell you what, here's another tool that I use, Fibonacci, retracements. If you take this high to this low, guess what? 45,000 is right in that Fib box.

So I look for measures of equilibrium in the market and also tell me when it's out of equilibrium. So I want to know when people are back to break even or when they're just really in the money or out of the money. And then I'll kick it to you, Keith. What do you use to time your entries into the market, whether it's crypto or anything else?

KEITH BLISS: Well, all the tools and indicators that you just cited there, you can get fanciful with your market technical analysis on this. And Bitcoin is one, and the other cryptos are really fun to try and throw some technical letters into because they do swing so violently.

But one of the things that I also use, which I'm sure you do, which gives me a good underpinning of where the overall broad market is, is just short-term, medium-term, and long-term trend lines, based upon where the price action has been. And if you go back-- I can't really see where you are on there, because it's a little smaller.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. I had Ether up there, or Ethereum, but now I have Bitcoin. And we're looking at a chart that goes back to last October, daily candlestick chart.

KEITH BLISS: Yeah. So if you were to draw a long-term trend line starting at that point and hitting all the dips that came in to use as your support level, you can see that it broke support pretty violently when it started to pull back, based upon investor sentiment.

Sometimes when this happens with other asset classes as well, when you have a consolidation at a certain price, and then the market's trying to decide what's going on, you're waiting for that one catalyst either to make it break out or to pull it back below the support line. And what we saw with Bitcoin is a few things.

First off, Tesla decided that they were no longer going to accept it as payment for their cars, is one catalyst that we saw. People started beating Elon Musk up pretty radically, both on Bitcoin as well as Dogecoin. And then the news this week really made a fall below a shorter-term trend line was the fact that the FBI had recovered the Bitcoin from the Russian hackers. So people were worried about the security of Bitcoin.

There's still questions about how did the FBI locate that? And it's probably smarter people than me, especially in the spy business, the espionage business, probably could answer that better than I can. But the effect was, it gave the market pause for reflection on Bitcoin and other cryptos. Is it really safe and secure, as it's been advertised? And that's why you see those catalysts.

In the absence of pure fundamentals, like you would see with a Procter and Gamble or an ExxonMobil, where you can certainly do with the discounted cash flow over future 12 months will be and then determine what is a fair price for that equity, Bitcoin doesn't have that. It's investor sentiment and catalysts outside of any kind of fundamental reckoning within the asset.

So that's why it's kind of fun to chart what you're doing there. So yeah, I try to deploy any and all technical indicators, techniques, when we're looking at not only Bitcoin but also the other cryptocurrencies.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. And I just have to share this. I'm bearish in the short and intermediate term on Bitcoin, because price, at least to me, hasn't proven itself yet, that we are back in a bullish mode. A couple of things have to happen. We have to see higher highs and highers lows. And we're not seeing that on this chart just yet.

You have potential, as I said before, for a double bottom here, but that's just potential at this point. And then, people say, how low can it go? I'll tell you what, this 30,000 level is pretty big here. This is an Anchored VWAP from the 2020 bottom. And that's around 5,000. That's what Jeff Gundlach was just talking about.

It's not a coincidence that we stopped right here. It's also an important Fib area. This is the break-even point. Everybody who bought since that period last year, the average position is now just about break even. If 30,000 breaks, I think we can pretty easily see 20,000 in a short period of time. And that would have very big implications for the alt coins.

And that just kind of leads me to the next topic, Keith. Ethereum, Bitcoin, the big guys, fine. But what do you see in some of the alt coins and their future?

KEITH BLISS: Well, so many of them trade in sentiment with the larger coins. Of course, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, any of the forking coins that come off of that. So they're going to trade, and they're going to trade in sympathy with those.

But when you get down, you're now seeing the issuance of a lot of coins that are coming out from companies that have real businesses underneath and like one that I like to watch and look at is Polkadot, for example, D-O-T. Polkadot is an Ethereum competitor.

And a lot of programmers are now using that blockchain to build applications off of, because they consider it a little bit safer. It appears to have plugged in some of the pinholes that you see in the Ethereum blockchain that some programmers and engineers have cited as problems going forward.

That is trading a breaking away a little bit from the larger coins. You're still going to see, until people really understand-- until we understand what regulation may come in from some of these coins, until we understand the absolute applications of being able to use them as stores of value, if we ever get there, and we are starting to see that.

For example, I don't know if everybody saw the news, but El Salvador is now mandating that Bitcoin will be a currency that they will use. They're doing that for lots of reasons. Of course, El Salvador is a very poor country and a very small economy.

But if you start to see the dam break there, Bahamas has issued their own coin. The Federal Reserve here in the US has talked about issuing their own cryptocurrency for a variety of reasons. Anyway, the point being is that, until we see it being broadly accepted inside of the overall economy for payments, banking, cash transfers, the like, you're going to see most of the alt coins trade in sympathy to the bigger coins.

But again, given all the coins that are out there, it's easy to do some research and find the ones that have real businesses underpinning them in their movement, like Polkadot that I mentioned. And then you could make the investment accordingly, if you don't want to have the volatile ride across the entire complex.

JARED BLIKRE: Gotcha. Well, I want to read the results from our first poll here, and then we're going to take another one and then some audience questions. So how many times has Bitcoin dropped 80% or more? 10% said 0, 14% said one, 14% said two, and the correct answer, three, 17% said that. The most heavily trafficked answer here is five. 26% of the people said five.

Our next poll here-- let me get to it in my document-- how much investing experience do you have? I just want to kind of get a pulse of the people in here. I know a lot of people are recent traders at a lot of these webinars. So please do take the time and tell us how long you've been investing here, because that does color our content a little bit.

Now, for some questions here. Since we're on crypto, I do want to get to one about digital currency. Yeah, if the US Treasury adopts a digital currency in the future, will it be their own brand or is there a chance they will adopt one already out there? And that comes from Carolyn.

My take is, it's going to be-- the Federal Reserve is not going to share the US dollar with anybody else, at least the minting rights, the printing rights, so it's going to be a Federal Reserve phenomenon. Maybe the Treasury gets involved in some way too.

We see this with China. China has a digital currency that is tracked 100%. I don't think that's going to be the case in the US. But they wouldn't cede that authority to anybody else either. And I do think it's likely that it's going to come.

The Fed has been talking about it for years. And I don't think it's going to change the landscape that much. But bottom line for me is the Fed, based on their recent jawboning and some of the other central bankers and high-ranking officials around the world, is that they're a little bit concerned when Bitcoin attracts a little bit too much popularity. Your thoughts on this, Keith?

KEITH BLISS: I am in complete, unadulterated, unmitigated agreement with you. There is no way-- listen, if people have a good understanding of global macroeconomics, you'll understand why the Federal Reserve was created in 1913. You'll understand why the US fights tooth and nail, either overtly or behind the scenes, to make the dollar remain as the Reserve currency.

There are fiscal, monetary, and broader economic benefits that come with that, including being able to finance this massive debt that we've layered on to our economy over the decades to sell dollar-denominated debt around the globe. Because it is the Reserve currency, because other countries and other businesses can then take that and use it as a currency to do whatever they need to do in their own micro and macroeconomic state.

So yeah, if the US does create a digital currency, which they're going to-- they've stated, not openly, but they've stated that it's going to happen-- they're not going to take a tether or some other token that's already out or coin that's already out there that is one to one to the US dollar. They're going to create their own.

And oh, by the way, they're going to create their own so that they can track it appropriately, they can monitor it. They can see who buys it, who invests it, what bank account it goes into. Cryptocurrencies, if done right and programmed right by the engineers, are a much better way to combat money laundering than actual paper currency. So I think that will be also one of the motivators underneath.

The Fed is concerned, not only about the rise of Bitcoin, but there's obviously a law enforcement component to that concern as well. As we know, Bitcoin and the US dollar, by the way, has been used by criminals to move drugs or other contraband or to launder money from those illegal activities.

And the ability for them to have their own cryptocurrency and monitor all the movements on it will start to eliminate some of those, if it remains as a Reserve currency or replaces the dollar as a Reserve currency. So they absolutely are going to build their own, not using anybody else's.

JARED BLIKRE: Yep. And it's coming too. But switching gears just a little bit, here's a very basic but important question. This comes from Benito. What's the single most important thing not to do when you're a beginner? And I'll just take this first.

I think, and it's a great question, because I think everybody in trading has to make a certain number of their own mistakes, probably got to blow out an account or two or at least have some painful losses so that you learn the lessons. But I think the biggest thing for me is you've got to respect the market. So don't not respect the market. We talk about buy and hold passive investing. That's very long term. That's secular. The rising tide can lift all boats.

But when we're talking about a short-term trade here, maybe a few days, a few weeks, a few hours, pretty much a zero-sum game. The money that you're getting is somebody else's. You took it out of their pocket or they're going to come for you. And these are the smartest people and the hungriest people on Earth. You've got to respect the market. What do you think, Keith?

KEITH BLISS: Well that, and also, if you're lucky enough to have a few wins out of the gate, don't think that you're suddenly the smartest guy in the world. Everybody, certainly in the equities and options markets, which are the two markets-- cash equities and then equity options, two markets that I know the best, I've seen it time and time again, there's always somebody bigger than you. And there's always somebody who will be the ax that will come in and run you over. So you need to be careful.

And the other advice that I would give is that I think cryptocurrencies are a great market to play in. You can make some money. I wouldn't necessarily be putting my retirement savings into it now that I'm at the ripe old age of 56, doing it full force. But go in slowly.

Some of the online brokers, who now trade cryptocurrencies, allow you to trade cryptocurrency. They're a great way to start. You can use it as a commission-free type of trade, get in, dabble, understand the markets. As you're pointing out, Jared, you got to really understand the cadence and tempo of a market.

Buying Ethereum or Bitcoin is very different than buying a fractional share in ExxonMobil or Amazon. So that would be my advice, is step in carefully, understand the dynamics, be prepared to lose your money. It could happen. It can happen in cash equities. But start slowly for sure.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. Know your timeframe, know your risk tolerance. Very, very important words. And it's something else that you said, I want to build on, is that the market changes over time. I call them epochs, but the behavior that we've seen since the GameStop phenomenon this year, it itself has morphed. We've seen since the election, the rise of value in cyclicals.

So there are different regimes in markets. And you have to be prepared for them to change on you. And what worked in January and February, at least the first half, stopped working. And I had people calling me in March. People don't call me when they're making lots of money. They call me when they're losing lots of money.

And the people who were-- somebody I know who was up 300 grand gave it all back in a month. Another fact. Remember Bill Huang, Archegos Capital. That fund blew up. He was worth $30 billion one day. Two days later, he was worth nothing in terms of net worth.

KEITH BLISS: Yeah, well, I think it's important-- one last point, I think it's important to realize that this is something that we were talking about earlier, where cryptocurrencies is, Bitcoin has pulled back substantially. But yet, the equity market has continued to grind higher and stay at those high levels.

And a lot of that has to do with people understanding the fundamentals that go into a cash equity valuation, whereas cryptocurrency can swing wildly based upon catalysts that we were talking about before.

So that would be another suggestion I would tell you. If you're going to dabble in cryptocurrencies, and you're going to start putting a fair amount of money in, you've got to pay attention all the time, because these catalysts will hit you when you least expect it. And the other problem with cryptocurrency markets is they trade 24/7, right?

JARED BLIKRE: No weekend break.

KEITH BLISS: Yeah. Yeah, there's no news dump out of the White House on Friday that may impact you on Monday. Now, that news dump, if they were to say something like we're going to regulate Bitcoin, that's going to whip you around Friday night. It's going to be a long Friday night and weekend. So that's the other thing you need to keep in mind.

Eventually, I think we'll get to, with all the cryptocurrencies, probably some regulated markets, as much as I'd hate to see that, because I do like the deregulated aspect of it. But that will give you a little bit more calm and sensibility around it. But we're a long way from that.

JARED BLIKRE: Yes we are a long way. I want to get to another audience question. This is really interesting. It comes from Anonymous. "Digital gold," that's in quotes, like Bitcoin, have become more popular even with institutional investors. Now, NFTs are becoming a hit now too. What else do you see on the horizon that will be launching as a digital asset? I've heard of digital real estate coming out soon too. Thoughts.

I'll take this first, and you can think about it. Just off the top of my head, I was surprised at the suggestion of digital real estate. But I see it, because the world is becoming more digital. In 10 years, we're going to have artificial intelligence that rivals the low end of human intelligence. That's only going to rise.

I could see this going a lot of interesting ways and unpredictable ways. But I'll say one thing about NFTs is the volume in the NFTs has dropped off a cliff over the last month. And that's because of the collapse in crypto prices. People were funding NFT purchases with their crypto. And a lot of them are not holding as much crypto anymore. But what's your take on this, Keith?

KEITH BLISS: Well, if you really sit back and think about it, and I was involved in this three years ago, we literally were thinking about tokenizing everything and digitizing everything. Yeah, I mean, you name it. Even our conversation, you could-- well, somebody did float an NFT over a tweet, I think, a while back.

So listen. There's no telling what can happen with the technology, how it relates, especially around the artificial intelligence capabilities that are now being built into almost everything that we do. You can buy tokens in real estate today. We've been fractionalizing shares of real estate ownership, either commercial or residential, for some time now. And those will eventually be transferred into a digital token that people can keep in their wallets or trade on a digital exchange or ATS.

But yeah, there's no telling. Once there's broad acceptance around what the cryptocurrencies can be from stores of value, once people understand that the blockchain is not some mythical creature out there waiting to take all of your money, it's actually really good technology to help you, to help companies raise money as well as provide a safe-keeping technology for what they're trying to do in their business, this could go many, many, many different directions, both in the virtual world, as well as the real world.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. I personally can't wait to see what happens next. This has been fascinating for me. We're getting a lot of questions about a replay of this event. Yes. We are going to-- in 24 hours, I will tweet a link to this entire presentation.

We're going to send it out to everybody by email. So if you've registered and you're here, we have your email address. We're going to send it to you. So don't worry if you missed anything.

Now it's time to read the results from our last poll. How much investing experience do have? Less than a year, one-quarter of you. One to three years, another quarter. Approximately four to nine years, 18%. And the highest result, over 10 years, 30%. So this is one of the more experienced webinar crews that I've been able to, I don't want to say preach to, but talk to in this series.

KEITH BLISS: And I'm going to guess, Jared, that everybody on that list is hoping that Bitcoin has one more drop below 80-- drop, pull-back 80% so everybody can jump in at this point in time.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. Yeah, well, I would-- that's a problem. If the market goes down 10%, you think it's going to go down 20. It goes down 80%, you think it's going to go down 100. And sometimes it does. But I don't see that in the cards for Bitcoin.

KEITH BLISS: No, neither do I.

JARED BLIKRE: I want to get to our next poll. This is poll for my producers, poll number four. I care about ESG. And is it, not at all, somewhat, a lot, I'm all in. And we'll get that on the screen here. We'll give you a few minutes to answer that poll. And then, let's see here. Yeah, hit that.

Well, I want to transition now to ESG. But I'm also going to use crypto as a pivot. We have a clip from Kevin O'Leary. He was on our program a little bit ago. And he was talking about the environmental concerns of cryptocurrencies. Take a listen.

KEVIN O'LEARY: There is a big problem brewing in this space, and I've mentioned this a couple of times. When I disclosed that I was moving to 3% waiting, I got a mountain of calls from institutional investors saying, wait a second. Where are those coins from? And I said, well, I mean, everybody knows you can tell the time of creation, but you can't tell location of creation.

Because currently, 60% of coins mined in Bitcoin come from China, where they don't care about sustainability. And they certainly have issues around human rights. And so there are many institutional clients that do not want to own so-called blood coin from China.

And as a result, we've got a really interesting situation emerging that the actual provenance of a coin over time, one that's mined sustainably, one that's mined in a jurisdiction that supports human rights and everything else, the ethics committee's approval could be worth more than just a generic coin that can't prove its provenance.

JARED BLIKRE: You know, Keith, I find this interesting from so many different levels. I was sitting in the room when that interview was taking place. And as soon as he said blood coins, I thought, I kind of took a step back.

But then it made sense, because if he's getting this from his investors, he has to figure out a way to solve it. It means other people are hearing the same thing. And since then, I think he coined the term two months ago, it's become a thing. So what's your take on this?

KEITH BLISS: Certainly pivoting that way. There's been a lot of concern about companies wanting to start up mining operations. And if they're doing it on the regular grid, that maybe having electricity supplied to it through fossil fuel, burning fossil fuels or coal-fired plants or that nature, the current movement-- good movement, in my opinion-- to renewables, to reduction of carbon, is needed.

And therefore, you're going to have-- essentially, they almost become coins that are mined by traditional power sources that are sucking on the grid and therefore creating more carbon emissions as a result. They're almost going to be tantamount to sin stocks.

The traditional sin stocks in tobacco, adult entertainment, gambling, alcohol. So I think you will see this bifurcation where ESG funds and ESG companies will start to demand that we understand, as Kevin O'Leary said, the provenance of where these things were mined.

And then we strip it down even further and say, OK, how were they mined? What was the energy source that was used? Was it solar? Was it wind? Was it hydro? Was it nuclear? Was it fossil fuels? I think that's the next generation underneath the mining operations.

And then I think, once you're able to do that-- this is the really interesting part, for me, is once you're able to do that, then you'll see ESG funds start to jump even further into these cryptocurrencies, because they'll have an assurance that it fits within their mandate.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. More institutional support for Bitcoin coming down the road. But they've got to figure out a few things first. I want to stick with ESG here, and a lot of people are asking what is ESG? What's the significance of it? People might have come here for the crypto. Just, can you break it down in broad terms of why it's become relevant, especially now to investors?

KEITH BLISS: Yeah, I think several years ago, investors, certainly ones that had a mandate around doing the greater good for mankind, once we kind of poked our heads out of the sand and said, hey man, we've been making lots of money destroying the planet, let's figure out if we can make some money actually re-nourishing the planet. One of the things that we'll talk about in a second, but so ESG stands for Environmental Sustainable and Governance, really around corporate governance.

And it really got its start when you look at some of the corporate scandals that occurred back in the '70s and '80s and then culminated with a lot of fraud and scandals around the dot com bubble. And then, of course, you had Enron, WorldCom. You and I are both old enough to remember those, Jared. You may have still been in grade school, but I was at a large--

JARED BLIKRE: I had graduated college, I'll have you know.

KEITH BLISS: Fair enough. But so that's really where-- so the whole movement around ESG really got its start from finding companies to invest in and put clients' money into as well as pension funds and foundations and endowment, in companies that had excellent corporate governance.

And that corporate governance was not only that they had adequate bylaws to make sure that they weren't running criminal enterprises that were going to run afoul of the law or the governments, but also had diversity in their workforces, diversity in their management ranks, diversity on the boards of directors.

And then it spun into where investors figured out that, yes, you could make money, you could have a profit motive. Companies that were concerned about the environment, companies that had sustainable goals, in either the products that they consume or the products that they produce, you could make money doing that. There's a way. There's a phrase coined a while ago, I forget by whom right now, called conscious capitalism. And it's something that can be done.

And over the years, we've finally gotten to the point where we've proved that years ago, when this whole movement started, especially foundations and endowments, basically invested in these activities, in these projects.

And with the assessment that they were just going to lose money by doing that. That's not the case now. There's lots of ESG ETFs. There's lots of companies that pass muster with the groups that look at that, not only in the governance, but also on the environment sustainability aspects of it.

And another point is the UN coming out with their 17 sustainable development goals a while back, gives companies a goal, a benchmark, to assess where they are in that. And that, of course, adds to them. And it's in the company's best interests, quite candidly, because so many investors have earmarked a large portion of their investable assets to companies that meet the ESG standards.

And some of the ETFs you see out there, from Vanguard, from BlackRock, from VanEck, from WisdomTree, they are large holdings at this point in time. So that's really the background of ESG. I went a little bit farther, but that's where it is, and that's why it's very popular today.

JARED BLIKRE: No, thank you for that. That was great. I do know that you're involved in an ESG project yourself. And in some of the materials I was taking a look at, there is a book called "Drawdown," and if my producers can pull up that full screen that we have, they rank a different, I guess, solutions here.

And they came up with at least 100 that I saw. But here are the top 15 solutions, where an investor can, I guess, invest in ESG or find companies or develop different movements in order to deal with ESG. Why don't you explain this project and how "Drawdown" fits into it.

KEITH BLISS: Yeah, sure. Thank you very much. Delighted to. We have the great good fortune at Capital2Market and C2M Securities to be engaged by a great company, great group of people called World Tree. You can get information on it.

Go into their website, worldtree.co, and then you can see information on the project. It's a project right now for only accredited investors. But I'm allowed to talk about it because of the structure. It's allowed for general solicitation.

But World Tree is a company. They're an agroforestry company, where they work with two particular varieties of a tree called the Empress Splendor, or the Paulownia species. And they work with farmers in the sun belt of the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Guatemala right now mostly, where they have over 220 farms in the program and over 5,000 acres planted. And the Paulownia tree is very interesting. It's known as the aluminum of lumber, because it has so many uses for the lumber.

And it's particularly good lumber that comes out of the tree. So you use it for fine finished goods like musical instruments, veneers, furniture. And they're starting to put applications like home construction that you'll be able to use. It has a great strength-to-weight ratio.

So World Tree developed this program where they can take investors' money, and they buy these startlings from laboratories that they work with in Georgia. All the startlings are started and formulated off of doing their own genetic work. So not from any seed pods, so that they can maintain the purity of the variety that they're getting. And the really interesting thing, and this is why it's a sustainable project, and I'll get to the environmental side of it in a minute.

But it's sustainable from the standpoint it's a wonder tree. Within 10 years, it grows so quickly. It's the fastest-growing tree in the world. It grows so quickly, within 10 years, you're able to harvest it for the lumber. On average. It depends on the growing region. And then the tree regenerates another seven cycles. So you actually get 70 years worth of lumber out of the same startlings. Really remarkable.

And the other aspect of it is that the tree is the very best at sequestering carbon. The company has worked with the Nature Bank to model out what the carbon sequestration characteristics look like and what that may mean from a financial return standpoint when we talk about the carbon credits.

So the project is-- the company's raising money. We're planting trees. We're going to produce lumber at the end. The returns are modeled out to be very good. And I would hope that everybody would go take a look at it and see if they want to get involved.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. Renewable forestry, and it's a fascinating time that we live in. And that's just a one-- that's just scratching the surface of the ESG surface. All right. I want to show everybody our Yahoo Finance Plus app here. And I'm going to share my screen and do a little show. This is actually a great webinar to do this with, because ESG is actually a big part of Yahoo Finance Plus.

And here on your screen, this is the Dashboard. This is what you see when you log on. This is a desktop app, works with mobile as well. And you can see this portfolio. Now, I did this a long time ago. I just slapped some tickers in. But this will show you if you're outperforming the S&P 500 or whatever market you want to take a look at.

We have various investment ideas. You click on something, here is NIO, and that's the ticker. We'll click on the actual report. There we go. 19% potential move here. This is what I base my daily Yahoo Finance Investment Idea of the Day on. And this will give you the technical pattern. If it's based on fundamentals, you'll be able to see that as well.

Our contractor for that is Argus Research. You can view this in a chart. You can see the actual technicals. This was the technical formation that was flagged. There's a description over here. But I want to get back here, and I did mention ESG. That comes a little bit lower in the presentation.

Here, we have fair value. You want to see the fair value of Apple, we have all these different metrics here. The Peter Lynch model is what we use. Research reports. These will give you the Argus Research or Argus Research view on whatever ticker is in play there.

And then Company Outlook. This is where we start getting into some of the ESG stuff for Tilray, for instance. We don't have sustainability information on Tilray, so I'm actually going to pivot to Apple here, just to give everybody an idea of what's possible.

Here's the company outlook for Apple. And you can see, in terms of innovation, not surprisingly, 92 out of 100. We have hiring, insider sentiment. Are they selling? Are the insiders selling their own stock? I find that to be kind of a contrary indicator at times. So I don't put too much stock in it. But it's there. We have Significant Developments. Those can be plotted on a chart. You can see exactly what was happening with the company on the chart. So that's pretty useful when you see those big gaps.

And then Sustainability. You can see it's in the 13th percentile. A lower score is a better score. 16.9 is, in fact, low. Environmental Risk is almost negligible, 0.3. Social Risk Score, 7.7. Governance Risk Score, 8.9. And so 3 is the bottom line. This is the controversy level. So 3 is significant. They have social supply chain incidents. They have customer incidents. Business ethic incidents.

So overall, I find this to be quite useful. You can view the details. And you can see if it's a sin stock in any way. Go down the list. Alcoholic beverages, no. Adult entertainment for Apple, no. Gambling, et cetera, et cetera.

Now, we change the ticker to ExxonMobil. You're going to see a different figure here. And we'll go to-- here we go. Company Outlook. Skipping down to Sustainability, 34.9. That's in the 74th percentile. That's a very high score, as you see there on your screen. Environmental Risk is pretty high, 16.1. Social Risk, 10.6. Governance Risk, 8.2.

And Keith, I'm going to bring you back in here, because since we're talking about Exxon, I just want to get your take on the board shake up that we just saw. Three activist investors, or three board members put in by an activist investor that had no experience in the oil and gas space, this was a pretty big deal. What were your thoughts when you heard what happened?

KEITH BLISS: Well, big integrated oil companies like ExxonMobil, they've been advertising for years. But I think there's a lot of money around ESG. And you're going to see more activists come into not only ExxonMobil but some of the other big integrateds and then some of the midstream and downstream players in that to start to change their businesses, their business models, to start to de-emphasize fossil fuels.

Listen, I'm a believer that we will still be using fossil fuels in a great way long after I'm gone. But the trend in the business case for starting to bend your business model away from those or in conjunction, a companion to it, in other renewables and other uses perhaps for the fossil-- for the crude oil that they pull out of the ground, as opposed to just burning it, creating products around it, you're going to see more of that.

And I think that's what we're seeing with this move here, kind of shake the roots a little bit from a stodgy old fully integrated oil services company to becoming a 21st century and then 22nd century type of corporation.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. Real shot off the bow there. My hot take was BlackRock, huge influence. They're the largest asset manager in the world, $6 to $7 trillion under management. And they get to vote their shares, because they control a lot of the world's biggest ETFs. And that means something. That gives them a tremendous amount of power. And I think they're going to go after some of the big banks too. But that's just my own little pet theory there.

Before we go, I want to take another question about Bitcoin. And this has an ESG component as well. Most of Bitcoin energy is spent on security of transactions. And actually China has a lot of hydropower. This is true.

How would ESG look at that? How would we then rate our country's spending on defense? And I'll just kind of field that. There are other ESG concerns in China besides the power issue.

I think you touched on that earlier with the human rights record. That is a concern as well. So it might just be that in the US or certain parts of the financial world, all they want is sustainable or ESG Bitcoin. And that might not include China. So what do you think about that, Keith?

KEITH BLISS: Yeah. It's a great point. ESG, I think, what you're pointing out is that ESG is more than just one component around it. It's more than just, you know, are we getting our electricity from hydro sources or renewable energy?

In my case, World Tree. World Tree-- one thing I failed to mention-- World Tree hits 7 of the 17 sustainable development goals. So that's a high qualifier in the ESG ranks, when you think about it. So your point is the right one.

Yeah, we might be able to prove the provenance and the creation of a Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, because it was developed using solar or wind or hydro, but then where did it come from? Does it come from a maligned state that's committing genocide on a section of their people or some other really heinous act?

And that's when it will get turned away. So listen, I think economics is all about incentives being put in the right place, not only the people that are making money or investing money, but also the people that are in the companies and the countries that are producing the economic gain and benefit.

So hopefully, the ESG section really takes off in a great way, both in cryptocurrencies and traditional economies so that it can bend the behavior, mold the behavior of people who will try to do what's good across everybody. I know that's a lofty, noble goal but it's worth shooting for, I think.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, of course. And we have just about a minute left or so. But I do want to get to one final question here. This comes from Anonymous. ESG metrics are quite subjective. Is there likely to be some standard by which companies can be measured based on an ESG score?

And you were talking earlier about different frameworks. I think World Economic Forum has one, the UN was involved early on. What do you look at? And is there going to be some kind of agreed-on standard in the future?

KEITH BLISS: Yeah. I think there will be an agreed-upon standard, as more and more countries and companies around the globe really want to take advantage of being an ESG company. And they should be. That's good for everybody. And there should be value in a company that does that.

So all these different standards kind of reminds me of all the different credit scores that you get out there. When I started my career at Citibank 30 years ago, yeah, we really didn't have a standard score.

And all of a sudden, we got to the Fair Isaac's FICO score that everybody used. You still have different credit reporting agencies, but they all get to typically the same FICO score. I think you'll see that same trend happen much more rapidly in the ESG world, where there is one standard that companies who want to participate in an ESG way, they have that standard to manage their businesses toward.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and it is fascinating how much this movement has picked up over just the last couple of years. We're going to end it here. Thank you, everybody for attending. Thank you, Keith. It's been just a great pleasure talking with you and tapping your wisdom.

We're going to do this again in five weeks, in the middle of July. Watch your emails. We're going to send out a blast to you. And we're going to look forward to doing this again. Again, thank you, everybody. And Keith, have a great day.

KEITH BLISS: My pleasure. Same to you.