Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has announced in a tweet that the electric car manufacturer will no longer accept cryptocurrency Bitcoin for the purchase of its vehicles. Musk cites environmental concerns related to Bitcoin's "mining" production methods, which require energy-intense computing power. Currently, the industry uses 149.6 terawatt-hours of energy, just slightly less than the energy consumed by the whole population of Egypt.
“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,” the statement tweet reads.
“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 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.”
The announcement led to a 13 percent crash for the cryptocurrency and Tesla shares have also dropped rapidly.
The move is surprising, as Musk has long been an advocate of Bitcoin, with Tesla buying 1.5 billion dollars worth of Bitcoins, as revealed in an SEC filing back in February, and even changing his Twitter bio to #Bitcoin in January. In March he announced "You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin", adding that Bitcoin paid to Tesla would be retained as Bitcoin and not converted to dollars.
The move comes three days after Musk announced the DOGE-1 mission to the Moon, the first space mission paid in Dogecoins, another cryptocurrency that he has championed. It is unclear if that is still on the cards. He called the currency a hustle during his stint as Saturday Night Live host on May 8.