Elon Musk has been an eccentric sort of champion for cryptocurrency. When it came to his Saturday Night Live gig, people were in part hoping that the big guy would bring a boost to Dogecoin with his appearance.
In general the scene surrounding cryptocurrency has taken many cautious steps forward. With introductions on mainstream payment platforms like Paypal and Cash App, these go to show an effort at trying to legitimize the alternative digital money in the public eye.
Unfortunately with every few steps forward there’s a step or two back. In the case of tonight, the Tesla CEO announced a halt on accepting Bitcoin cryptocurrency as payment for vehicles. The stated reasoning includes environmental concerns.
“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. 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. Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intended 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.”
This comes as likely a surprise to many people familiar with Musk’s and Telsa’s recent decision making. At the beginning of February the company bought $1.5 billion in BTC and signaled their initial plans to accept it as payment for their cars. By the end of April the value of Telsa’s bitcoin ballooned to $2.5 billion.
It was a little under a week ago that an SEC Chair urged cryptocurrency exchanges to require more “direct” regulation.
It’s unclear if Telsa’s announcement today will impact the Dogecoin initiative announced back on Sunday, in which SpaceX will launch a satellite to the moon funded entirely on the meme digital currency.