Cryptocurrencies are known for their high volatility and susceptibility to cyberattacks. For example, by September 2023, the market value of cryptocurrencies had decreased by more than 50% since the end of 2021, and approximately $3.8 billion was stolen globally in hacks in 2022. This information comes from Consob’s annual report on sustainable investments and crypto-activities, which also found that euro area companies have a greater ability to manage their exposure to ESG risks.
The report also highlights the extreme price volatility of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, which have high risk-taking due to their price fluctuations. This volatility also extends to inactive cryptocurrencies, with values close to 60% and 70% for bitcoin and ether, respectively. Additionally, cyber security remains a critical issue, with only a small minority of cryptocurrency exchange platforms being considered ‘very safe’.
In terms of sustainable investments, the report notes that Euro area companies are increasingly able to manage ESG risks related to the environment, social aspects, and corporate governance. However, the exposure to ESG risks is higher for utilities and energy producers than for manufacturing or service companies. In Italy, financial companies have a higher exposure to ESG risks compared to non-financial companies.
The report also includes a focus on companies listed in Italy, examining whether the ESG risk score and ESG Refinitiv rating are correlated with company characteristics. It found that the group of companies with higher sustainability scores tend to have greater liquidity and capitalization, while there are no significant differences in performance, volatility, and market valuations.
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