Illustration by Elias Stein

What do Cathie Wood, ESG investors, and central bankers have in common? They’re all involved in the bull and bear debate over Bitcoin—and they’re all vying for space in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s mind.

Wood is a big Bitcoin bull. Her price target is $500,000, and cryptocurrency brokerage Coinbase is a top 10 holdings in her ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund. Musk, for his part, regularly tweets about crypto. And Tesla holds some $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin.

ESG investors, however, worry that Bitcoin is feeding global warming. Lots of electricity used to “mine” Bitcoin comes from burning coal and natural gas. Musk cited climate concerns when he stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment for Tesla cars in May (after accepting it in March).

But Wood still sees Musk as a bull. “Elon probably got a few calls from institutions,” she told CoinDesk, noting that BlackRock is a big Tesla shareholder, and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and European Tesla investors are attuned to climate issues. Wood believes demand from crypto mining can provide utilities with cash to invest in renewables and that environmental issues will fade as the grid transforms. As for central bankers, many believe Bitcoin is too volatile to be used globally.

They have a point. Bitcoin closed on Friday, May 21 at just over $35,000. On Friday, May 28, Bitcoin was trading at just over $35,000. In-between, prices rose as high as $42,000 and fell as low as $31,000—a 30% swing. If Musk stays sidelined, Bitcoin could struggle. If Wood is right, and Musk’s Bitcoin bearishness passes, well, that could be a catalyst.

Last Week

Happy Birthday, Dow!

Stocks rose as the new week dawned, and Bitcoin and other cryptos firmed, only to slip again on Tuesday. Meme stocks got traction in midweek as indexes slipped. Initial jobless claims fell to their pandemic low, sparking a rally, and April consumer spending rose 0.5% and prices 0.7%. On the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which celebrated its 125th birthday on Wednesday, rose 0.9%, to 34,529.45; the S&P 500 was up 1.2%, to 4204.11; and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 2.1%, to 13,748.74.

Decarbonizing

In a much-anticipated Exxon Mobil vote, Engine No. 1 won two board seats, with others still undetermined. The activist had sought four seats and called for Exxon to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. At Chevron, 61% of shareholders voted to cut emissions, and a Dutch court ordered Shell to cut emissions by 45% by 2030.

A G-7 Tax Deal

The G-7 reached a deal on a global tax rate for corporations after the Biden administration came down from a 21% minimum to 15%. The G-7 hopes to press the proposal quickly through the larger Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, though Brazil has already said it would negotiate separately. The administration, meanwhile, reduced its infrastructure plan to $1.75 trillion from $2.25 trillion, and proposed a $6 trillion budget.

Covid Origins

A much-debated theory that the coronavirus evolved in a mine in China and ended up in a Wuhan virology lab sprang to life after The Wall Street Journal reported that three Chinese researchers grew ill in November 2019. China denied the theory, and the White House asked the intelligence community to look into the situation and report back in 90 days.

No-Fly Belarus

The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, allegedly ordered a jet fighter to force a Ryanair jetliner to land in Minsk, where a protest leader was removed and arrested. In response, the European Union imposed sanctions and, with the United Kingdom, banned flights in Belarus airspace.

Annals of Deal Making

Amazon.com agreed to buy MGM studios for $8.45 billion, a boon to its streaming business… AMC Entertainment’s largest shareholder, China’s Dalian Wanda, sold most of its shares in the movie-theater chain…German publisher Axel Springer is in talks to buy U.S. online-media company Axios for over $400 million…U.S. frackers Cabot Oil & Gas and Cimarex Energy agreed to an all-stock merger to create a $14 billion company run by Cimarex CEO Thomas Jorden… HSBC exited U.S. retail banking after 40 years, selling much of its branch network to Citizens Financial and Cathay General Bancorp…SoftBank Group paid WeWork founder Adam Neumann $450 million after forcing him out in 2019…Investing app Acorns will go public in a $2.2 billion SPAC deal.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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