If cold fusion were invented tomorrow everything changes, world politics, anything involving oil or energy production, the environment, space travel, food production, basically everything. So while it attracts cranks by the boatload I would be happy to see huge amounts of funding going to CF. Yet I suspect that if you are a legitimate researcher and you mention cold fusion that there is stunned silence in the room. You might as well bookend it with paranormal research.
First of all it needs to be a form of fusion that's either hot / high pressure enough to allow reasonably efficient conversion to work through a thermodynamic process, or a form of fusion that emits charged particles that can be converted directly to useful electricity. If you can't extract work from the machine then all you have is a glorified heat pump.
Second it needs to go through the whole industrial process from prototype to worldwide mass production to be able to beat more established forms of energy. That is going to take years, if not decades and there would certainly be a fusion bubble or two or three on Wall Street along the way.