France’s Melanion Capital to launch ‘green’ bitcoin-focused Spac

Melanion Capital is to list a special purpose acquisition company focused on acquiring and developing businesses linked to “green and clean bitcoin”.

The Paris-based asset manager, which already oversees a number of crypto exchange-traded funds, said the new company will invest in firms that hold, trade, mine and lend bitcoin mined with environmentally friendly origins.

It said this means only using bitcoins that have been mined using exclusively renewable energy sources, tokens that have never been used before, or ones where the “provenance” of the bitcoin is known.

Global investors have been clamouring for access to cryptocurrencies on regulated markets such as stock exchanges, as watchdogs appear poised to crack down on digital assets. Concerns have been raised about the negative environmental impact of mining tokens such as bitcoin — a topic that is particularly important to institutional investors, which are required to meet strict environmental, social and governance targets.

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Jad Comair, chief executive of Melanion, said the new business will provide investors with a way to access bitcoin “in a way that prioritises [ESG] objectives”.

The Spac is planned to launch on Euronext in the coming months, Melanion said in a 17 November statement.

Europe has been a key market for crypto-linked exchange-traded products and businesses, with a range of funds tied to the performance of bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies already in play. Select countries such as Germany and Sweden have led the way, approving ETPs from players such as WisdomTree, Valour and 21Shares.

Other countries such as the US are starting to catch up to the trend after the US Securities and Exchange Commission approved its first bitcoin futures ETF last month. The regulator denied an application by VanEck for a product tied directly to bitcoin’s spot price, however.

“Every day it is becoming clearer that bitcoin is here to stay, not as a vehicle for speculation, but as a viable and valued part of mainstream financial and commercial infrastructure around the world,” said Comair, who co-founded Melanion in 2013 alongside three former Société Générale colleagues.

“This is what we view as the Bitcoin Transition, as it represents a long-term investment trend comparable to the early days of the internet.”

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Melanion said it plans to develop a lending platform through the new firm Melanion Digital, through which bitcoin-related businesses will be able to “borrow to fund new projects or initiatives”. This could include investment in mining through a model in which Melanion and other counterparts would earn royalties, it said.

No target raise amount for the Spac was provided.

The price of bitcoin has continued to be volatile in recent weeks, despite reaching several consecutive all-time highs throughout November. Its value tanked back to where it had started the month at around $60,000 on 16 November in a market-wide crash, which crypto analysts linked to profit-taking after the recent highs.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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