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Aligning climate goals with company objectives

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The UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this week provides further proof of how widespread the climate change issue is. The backdrop is that while it appears like a lot of progress has been made on decarbonization, it isn’t happening fast enough. That’s one of the findings of the PwC Net Zero Economy Index 2021, which was published last week and tracks CO2 emissions growth (or decline) among the world’s 20 largest economies.Is it possible that the world is on track to decarbonize? It’s true that carbon emissions are down 2.5% globally in 2020, but there’s more good news: That rate has steadily accelerated since then! The bad news is that it will only reduce emissions by 12.5% (versus one-fifth the amount needed to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius). And, according to PwC experts, the downturn was largely attributable to decreased economic activity caused by the pandemic (less travel, for example), rather than a fundamental shift in how the world generates and consumes energy.

Over the following two weeks, we’ll hear a lot about how the global need to restrict emissions conflicts or jibes with the many demands and pressures that businesses confront. The transition planned, no matter how quickly it happens, will be extremely costly. Is there enough money available? What are the terms on which it may be obtained? How do you reconcile the goal of lowering pollution with the demands to keep enterprises viable?

In many situations, the market is providing abundant evidence that there isn’t need for a divide between the two. Look no farther than the equity markets, where electric automobile producers are rewarded with enormous market capitalizations that dwarf those of companies that generate far higher quantities of internal combustion engine vehicles. Of course, the stock market is a futures market rather than a prior market. Investing in firms that are boosting the production of emission-free automobiles—and buses, planes, and batteries—suggests investors see where value will be generated in the future.

Elsewhere, there is evidence of a “green premium,” which may be defined as an economic advantage that comes with low- or no-carbon solutions. We’re likely to hear a lot of talk at COP26 about favorable tax treatment and subsidies for green technologies, ranging from credits for purchasing electric cars to governments assisting in the construction of charging networks and funding the purchase of electric school buses and ferries. Solar power plants may be the most cost-effective way to generate electricity in many places across the world, given that solar, wind, and battery technology costs have dropped dramatically over the last decade. Private investors are adjusting their balance sheets in line with the growing number of firms that are publishing their own aggressive de-carbonization goals. Green bonds are on the upswing, as this article on financing the net-zero transition indicates. Green bonds enable businesses and organizations to borrow at reduced rates if they intend to invest in carbon-free technologies—and with forecasts showing that issuance could reach US$1 trillion per year by 2023, the market may grow substantially. Many of these projects will be used to support the deployment of clean infrastructure. PwC experts, in collaboration with Oxford Economics, have released a new report called “Achieving Net-Zero Infrastructure.” In it, they analyze how 80 nations and regions are positioned to finance and execute a comprehensive decarbonization of their infrastructure.

Although the business and economic logic of the energy transition is more compelling than ever, it isn’t unassailable, as PwC colleagues James Chalmers, Emma Cox, and Nadja Picard suggest. According to a new PwC poll of 325 investors around the world, released in September 2021, investors’ views on ESG have changed dramatically since then. They’re generally quite comfortable with the ESG agenda: “nearly 80% said ESG was an important element in their investment decision-making; just under 70% thought factors related to sustainability should be considered in executive compensation targets; and around 50% were ready to sell firms that failed to act on sustainability concerns.”

However, the survey uncovered opposing factors. Investors must comply with their stakeholders’ best interests in order to achieve long-term gains. When the two are in conflict, there is a discord. Only 34% of self-described active asset managers who make long-term investments would be willing to accept a lower rate of return if it benefited society or the environment. In pursuit of ESG objectives, however, almost eight in ten respondents said they would not accept a drop of more than 1% on their portfolio.

For years, one of the premises underlying the discussion about reducing emissions has been that individuals, businesses, and investors would be required to pay a fee or accept lower returns in exchange for what is anticipated to be a larger overall benefit—a cleaner planet, healthier air. But this might be a difficult intellectual leap. There will almost certainly be much discussion at COP26 about how to square the circle. However, there is also likely to be a more promising line of conversation: how innovation, policy structure, and new business models, products, and services can help to establish new long-term solutions for generating value.

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Bitcoin Drops to $40,000 and Ether Plummets. Russia Is on the verge of passing a cryptocurrency ban.

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Russia’s central bank has proposed a ban on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that would go into effect next year. As of Friday, the cryptocurrency dropped below the psychologically important $40,000 mark, according to reports.

The Bitcoin price fell 8% to nearly $39,000 in the last 24 hours, according to CoinDesk data. Over the same period, Ether dropped 10%, now valued at $2800.

Following the South Korean government’s decision to ban local cryptocurrency trading, Bitcoin and Ethereum tumbled by about 14 percent each. Bitcoin Cash dropped more than 5%, and Ripple suffered a drop of over 6%. The value of numerous other cryptocurrencies fell in tandem, including “meme” coins Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

Russia, which is home to one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining communities, may soon outlaw the creation of digital assets. While a prohibition on trading and engaging in transactions with cryptocurrencies in Russia is also being considered, only owning or keeping Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies would be permitted.

According to the Bank of Russia, cryptocurrencies’ increasing popularity poses risks to Russian retail investors, financial stability, and threats linked with cryptocurrency use for unlawful purposes.

In Russia, Bitcoin and other digital currencies are quite popular. According to the central bank, the amount of crypto transactions made by citizens every year is worth around $5 billion.

“The Russian ruble has been declining in value for the past two decades, making Bitcoin an appealing investment for many Russians throughout that time span,” according to Oanda’s Edward Moya.

Rough, Russia

The Russian Central Bank on Friday targeted digital assets, sending Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies tumbling.

The Bank of Russia has recommended prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies in trade and transactions, including the closure of cryptocurrency exchanges on Russian soil.

Central banks in various countries are also attempting to bring cryptocurrency regulation into place. The country’s central bank said that “mining, which consumes unneeded electricity,” should be banned as well.

Some experts think a statutory ban may be ineffective now that the Bank of Russia’s proposal is on its way to parliament.

“I don’t think they’ll be able to completely stop crypto trading in Russia,” according to GlobalBlock’s Marcus Sotiriou.

“We’ve seen China attempt to ban cryptocurrency trading on multiple occasions in recent years, but China is still one of the most active nations when it comes to cryptocurrency. Decentralized finance, which is made possible by cryptocurrencies, is difficult to track and stop.”

While the news from Russia has dampened enthusiasm, crypto prices as a whole have been on a slide recently. Since the start of the year, Bitcoin and Ether have missed out on record highs by 30%, trading at around 30% below their all-time highs.

To a large extent, risk assets’ market sentiment is to blame.

In practice, because Bitcoin and other digital assets are theoretically supposed to be divorced from traditional financial markets, they have shown themselves to be associated with other high-growth, risk-sensitive bets such as many technology stocks.

The Nasdaq Composite, which is heavily weighted with technology firms, dropped more than 10% below its all-time high in mid-November this week, according to the technical indicators.

The Federal Reserve’s increased interest rate increases and the passage of tax legislation that lowers corporate rates have pushed investors to sell high-growth companies.

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How Twitter may help take NFTs mainstream

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Twitter began allowing select users to use non-fungible tokens as profile images today, just four months after hinting at the possibility. Subscribers to Twitter Blue, which costs $2.99 per month, may now link their crypto wallet and display any NFTs they possess in their profile. These people are easily distinguished from those who

In September, when Twitter first brought up the subject, I suggested that utilizing NFTs might help the technology go mainstream. Users have already created the hashtag, @ mention, and retweet; by displaying their (unauthenticated) NFTs via profile pictures on platforms such as CryptoPunks, Bored Apes, and other popular collectives

Twitter’s introduction of NFT profiles was met with harsh criticism, owing to the polarizing nature of blockchain-based projects in general. The technology does not live up to its own promises: verifying ownership or decentralizing power. (For the most part, NFTs today do not encode the owned media on the blockchain; instead, they provide proof of ownership. ) When considered in this light, Twitter might be accused of legitimizing a technology that exposes users to theft, fraud, and other risks.

Meanwhile, millions of prospective buyers are about to see those hexagons on a daily basis and inquire why the fuss is happening. The question is whether Twitter — and all of the other platforms racing to integrate NFTs — can brute-force digital collectibles into popularity, despite furious objections from naysayers.

We’ve already had an early test of that question in the gaming business. Several prominent developers have revealed plans to include NFTs into their games, in the form of digital items, throughout the last several months. The headlines usually include words like “explosive reaction.”

Gamers’ gripes are easy to understand. The gaming business has moved from a model of charging you a one-time fee to own a game to one in which you may be charged for it several times (to download new expansions, or buy cosmetic items); or continually (by subscriptions). Loot boxes, which give players things at random, have

Some have also claimed that if you aren’t ready to get into the nitty-gritty of technical details, then why even bother? Playing a game in the future might require connecting a crypto wallet, paying hefty fees just to trade on the market, buying rare digital goods, and then protecting them from robbers — so it’s not clear how this would make

And so, after Ubisoft revealed a plan to include NFTs in its action game Ghost Recon Breakpoint, it was roasted. Square Enix, the creator of the Final Fantasy series and others, came under fire for implying that it might possibly provide crypto tokens in the future. Zynga, a mobile gaming firm known for building games around making frequent

For would-be NFT platform operators, the backlash represents more than a string of bad public relations cycles. The metaverse, as we have taken to calling the next version of the internet in Silicon Valley, is based on video games as the device that will entice people to buy augmented and virtual reality headsets. The concept, as Mark Zuckerberg explained it to me last summer, is that you’ll buy virtual clothes or other digital goods as NFTs and use them from VR experience to VR experience, starting with games.

If players despise NFTs for all time, the metaverse will change dramatically. Developer teams that have raised billions of dollars based on the promise that games would bring trillions of people onto web3, such as the team behind Axie Infinity, will suffer.

It’s not just players who are skeptical. In a survey published today by the Game Developers Conference, 70 percent of studios said they have “no interest” in NFTs. -Here’s  Jay Peters’ column at The Verge:

“When asked how they felt about the possibility of cryptocurrency or NFTs in games, a few called it ‘the future of gaming,’” the survey said. “However, a vast majority of respondents spoke out against both practices — noting their potential for scams, overall monetization concerns, and the environmental impact.”

Many quotes directly from developers were scathing. “How this hasn’t been identified as a pyramid scheme is beyond me,” one wrote. “I’d rather not endorse burning a rainforest down to confirm someone ‘owns’ a jpeg,” said another. “Burn ‘em to the ground. Ban everyone involved in them. I work at an NFT company currently and am quitting to get away from it,” said another.

Of course, another way to interpret this information is that almost one-third of today’s game developers are at least interested in NFT integration. However, for the time being, they are in the minority.

We’ve already seen how the NFT market will change, but now we’re going to look at what that might mean for Twitter. There are some crucial distinctions between games and tweets: gamers despise NFTs because they believe they may be compelled to buy them; on Twitter, purchasing and displaying any digital art you acquire would be optional. And while

Today I saw reactions of two kinds: from crypto skeptics, dunking on hexagons; and, from crypto enthusiasts, dunking on people who are mad at hexagons.

Who will win?

Technology may be so reviled from the outset that it is forced outside of polite society. Inquire with anyone who wore Google Glass into a bar in 2013 about how that turned out.

But, sometimes — and this is especially evident on Twitter -— things are ridiculed into legitimacy. (People who study extremism have a name for the technique by which jokes are frequently used to smuggle ideas into the mainstream: irony poisoning.) And crypto enthusiasts have been excellent at co-opting insults hurled at them into badges of pride. When critics

It’s possible that Twitter will be the last to try and take NFTs mainstream. On Thursday, The Financial Times stated that Meta is planning to allow customers to generate and sell NFTs on its platforms. Google now has a blockchain department, and it’s likely YouTube will be included in its strategy.

It’s far too soon to tell how effective any of these initiatives will be, which are still in the early stages. However, we may regard Twitter’s hexagonal release as the day when NFTs became accessible to a broad, mainstream audience.

We’ll have to wait now to see whether the general public actually desires them.

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The selloff has quickened, and risk aversion is hammering bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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Bitcoin (BTC-USD) fell over 9% to below $40,000 on Friday, with the rest of the cryptocurrency market following suit as risk aversion drove a downdraft for assets before the Federal Reserve’s widely anticipated rate hikes.

The latest plunge in Bitcoin’s price has been aided by the Federal Reserve’s decision to halt interest rate hikes, which have brought China and other emerging markets’ stock market crashes closer. On Friday, the Nasdaq fell into a deeper nadir, after Netflix (NFLX) disappointed investors with stronger-than-expected subscriber growth.

The price of bitcoin has fallen below a crucial technical barrier, dropping below $40,000, where bulls and bears have been battling for days. It’s the first time that bitcoin has broken through this psychological barrier.

In another report, newswire and cryptocurrency site CoinDesk stated that bitcoin’s price was currently trading at around $6,900.

Ether (ETH-USD), one of the most popular digital coin transactions since the non-fungible token (NFT) craze began, fell more than 12% and is now valued at $2,814.

“More rate hikes is generally going to cause more agony for risk-on assets, and especially Bitcoin,” said Chris Matta, president of 3iQ Digital Assets US. The leading digital currency has historically benefited from expansionary monetary policy, but expectations for a more hawkish Fed are now punishing it.

According to Matta, even if some investors still view Bitcoin as an inflationary hedge, the Fed’s decision to curb inflation “isn’t going to make it the top of their list” for many crypto traders.

Other factors include the uncertain environment for crypto regulation and the top-heavy derivative market fueled by speculation. On the derivatives side, roughly 200,000 holdings were liquidated in the last 24 hours, totaling $745 million in losses, according to Coinglass.

Brad Matta, director of state and local research at Phoenix Capital Research, said the sales reduced volatility by boosting overall supply. He told CNBC that derivatives did not cause this decline.

According to data from The Block Research, for the previous two weeks, most of the financing rates in crypto futures have been on the short-seller side.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding aggressive rate hikes at this time, I think we could very well see additional selling, bringing Bitcoin down to $35,000 or even lower. It’s not yet finished.” Matta concluded.

The sale of reserve assets by Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and cryptocurrency miners might lead to additional sell-offs in the sector, according to Naclari, since they may have to sell off more of their funds to meet operational expenses.

According to Coingecko, OlympusDAO’s cryptocurrency (OHM-USD) has dropped more than 30% since December 1, from a market capitalization of $4.3 billion to just over $827 million.

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