Bitcoin; Cryptocurrencies; Currencies; Energy usage; Speculative assets; Volatility
The annual electricity consumption of cryptocurrency transactions has grown substantially in recent years, partially driven by the increasing difficulty in mining, but also driven by the large number of new market participants that have been attracted by the elevated prices of this developing financial asset. Total carbon production from mining now likely exceeds that generated by individual developed nations. This is now a prevailing and accepted feature in cryptocurrency markets, however unsustainable it may be. This paper investigates as to how Bitcoin's price volatility and the underlying dynamics of cryptocurrency mining characteristics affect underlying energy markets and utilities companies. Further analysis of potential side-effects within the market for Exchange Traded Funds are considered. The results show a sustained and significant influence of cryptocurrency energy-usage on the performance of some companies in the energy sector as separated by jurisdiction, emphasising the importance of further assessment of environmental impacts of cryptocurrency growth. Robustness testing presents evidence that dynamic correlations peaked during the sharp Bitcoin price appreciation of late-2017 as investors re-evaluated how this increased energy usage would influence the profitability of utility companies.