Reacting to comments from Magda Wierzycka, CEO of South African asset manager Sygnia, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla would resume accepting Bitcoin as payment as soon as the cryptocurrency relies on a more efficient and greener use of energy.
“This is inaccurate,” Musk tweeted in response to Wierzycka, who said, “What we have seen with Bitcoin is price manipulation by one very powerful and influential individual.”
“Tesla only sold ~10% of holdings to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving market,” Musk continued. “When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.”
This is inaccurate. Tesla only sold ~10% of holdings to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving market.
When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 13, 2021
CNBC added that, in addition to describing Musk’s rhetoric regarding Bitcoin as “market manipulation,” the Sygnia CEO also said that his actions should have triggered an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk’s Twitter profile has appeared to have a drastic impact on the cryptocurrency market in recent months. In late January, the Tesla CEO added “#bitcoin” to his Twitter bio, after which “Bitcoin prices skyrocketed by as much as 20%, climbing suddenly in the early hours of the morning. According to cryptocurrency site CoinDesk, Bitcoin prices rose $5,000 in an hour to $37,299, increasing further to $37,653 by 8.00 a.m. ET.”
In late March, Musk announced on Twitter that Teslas could be purchased using Bitcoin.
“You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin,” Musk wrote. “Tesla is using only internal & open source software & operates Bitcoin nodes directly.”
“Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as Bitcoin, not converted to fiat currency,” he added.
In mid-May, however, Musk announced that the electronic car company would suspend vehicle purchases with Bitcoin, citing concern over “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining.”
“Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” wrote Musk.
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” Musk continued. “Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.”
In a subsequent tweet, Musk described the energy usage trend of Bitcoin in recent months as “insane.”
The concern regarding the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is not entirely unfounded. In February, researchers at Cambridge University found that, in terms of annual energy consumption, “Bitcoin now consumes more power than Argentina, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates, at 121.36 TWh.”
The SEC also reportedly slammed Tesla for failing to control Musk’s tweets, with the organization accusing Musk “of ignoring a court-ordered policy in 2019 and 2020 regarding his use of Twitter,” as reported by The Daily Wire.