Elon Musk confirmed in the early hours of Monday that Tesla has not sold any of its Bitcoin holdings, in a tweet that pushed the value of the cryptocurrency up – hours after he caused it to plummet by suggesting he had sold.
The South African billionaire has a history of provocative tweets about the markets that got him in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and fined him $ 20 million.
Tesla bought about $ 1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin in February, around the time it announced it would accept the cryptocurrency as payment for its products. However, it was revealed earlier this week that the company sold approximately $ 272 million worth of Bitcoin in the first quarter of this year.
On Sunday, he suggested in a cryptic tweet that Tesla could have dumped the rest of its Bitcoin holdings.
But in the early hours of Monday, he tweeted, “To clarify the speculation, Tesla hasn’t sold Bitcoin.”
Elon Musk confirmed on Monday that Tesla had not sold the rest of its Bitcoin holdings
Musk’s 1:56 hour tweet sent Bitcoin’s value up from $ 42,475 to $ 44,831 in 15 minutes
One Bitcoin was worth $ 42,475 in the minutes leading up to his tweet – the first time, it was less than $ 45,000 in three months.
Fifteen minutes later, it was worth $ 44,831.
On Wednesday, Tesla announced it would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment, citing environmental concerns.
That announcement caused Bitcoin’s value to drop dramatically.
The cryptocurrency sold for approximately $ 56,000 on Wednesday morning. According to Monday morning 9am ET, the price was $ 46,000. CoinDesk.
The billionaire responded Sunday afternoon to a Twitter account that wrote, “ Bitcoiners are going to hit themselves next quarter when they discover that Tesla has dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings. With the amount of hate @elonmusk gets I wouldn’t blame him ‘
Musk replied cryptically, “Indeed.”
Musk has enjoyed playing with speculators on Twitter for years
The billionaire responded on Sunday afternoon to a Twitter account that claimed he would sell all Bitcoin holdings
The cryptocurrency sold for approximately $ 56,000 on Wednesday morning. According to data from Google, the price is $ 45,300 as of Sunday afternoon.
Tesla still has more than $ 1.2 billion worth of Bitcoin, according to calculations based on the most recent profit statements.
The company has sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency in the first business quarter of 2021, reportedly accounting for 23 percent of Tesla’s revenues for that three-month period.
Had it not been for the sale of its Bitcoin, the company would have missed its earnings target for the quarter, says NYU business professor Scott Galloway wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, has grown fivefold in the past year alone.
The rise comes amid an increasingly heated debate over the environmental costs of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.
Crypto is ‘mined’ by powerful computers that require enormous amounts of energy to continuously solve computational math puzzles. Each problem solved produces a certain amount of coins.
While the machines use electricity, fossil fuel is an important category in electricity generation.
Environmentalists argue that creating the cryptocurrency could hurt efforts to limit global warming.
The South African-born billionaire admitted on SNL that cryptocurrency was ‘a hustle and bustle’
The company sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency in the first business quarter of 2021, reportedly accounting for 23 percent of Tesla’s revenues for that three-month period, as tweeted by NYU business professor Scott Galloway
On Wednesday, Tesla also announced that it would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment, citing environmental concerns
The rising price of Bitcoin over the past two years has resulted in CO2 emissions rising by more than 40 million tons, according to a report from BofA Securities. That increase equates to 8.9 million extra cars on the road.
The same reported that Bitcoin’s energy consumption is comparable to that of major US companies such as American Airlines or even the US government.
Bitcoin also consumes more electricity than many countries.
It consumes nearly the same amount of electricity as Egypt annually, according to an index compiled by the University of Cambridge, citing 2019 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Musk tweeted a link to that study on Thursday, saying, “The trend in energy consumption in recent months is insane.”
He later tweeted, “To be clear, I am a strong believer in crypto, but it cannot lead to a massive increase in the use of fossil fuels, especially coal.”
Pictured: A graph with data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) showing Bitcoin’s energy consumption. Consumption rose to its highest ever level at the end of last year, and rates continued to rise through 2021.
Tesla is now keen to distance itself from Bitcoin because of its harmful effects on the environment
This week’s tweets about Bitcoin aren’t the first time Musk has manipulated the stock market with his Twitter account.
In January, the Tesla founder added the word ‘#bitcoin’ to his Twitter bio, pushing the price of the cryptocurrency up.
The billionaire is an extremely influential figure on Twitter, where he is followed by 43.8 million users.
However, he has a track record of making market-shifting comments on the site, which has sparked widespread criticism and gotten him into legal trouble.
In August 2018, Musk shared a tweet claiming he had ‘secured funding’ to take Tesla privately at $ 420 a share. It pushed up the company’s stock and forced trading to a halt.
Musk has reportedly made $ 851 million after posting that tweet.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk for fraud over “ false and misleading tweets, ” claiming he simply chose the price of $ 420 because the number is a marijuana reference that would “ amuse ” his girlfriend.
Musk was fined $ 20 million and forced to step down as chairman of Tesla after reaching a settlement with the Commission.
Later that year, Musk and the SEC then reached a separate deal requiring the billionaire to get tweets about a particular topic pre-approved by an experienced securities attorney.
He may not now tweet information about Tesla’s financial condition, potential or proposed merger, numbers of production or sales, or new or proposed lines of business for fear it could manipulate the market.
In January, Tesla’s founder added the word “ #bitcoin ” to his Twitter bio, causing the cryptocurrency’s price to skyrocket