Three months later Tesla said it would start accepting the cryptocurrency Bitcoin In return for payment, the electric car manufacturer abruptly reversed course.
In a message posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer, said Tesla had suspended accepting Bitcoin because of concerns about the energy consumption of computers crunching the calculations that back the currency.
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a bright future, but it cannot result in high environmental costs.” Mr Musk wrote. “We are concerned about the rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.”
Earlier this year Tesla announced it had bought $ 1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and Mr. Musk trumpeted the company’s plan to accept the currency. Tesla later sold around $ 300 million of its Bitcoin holdings, Proceeds that topped up earnings in the first quarter.
“Tesla will not sell bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions once mining moves to more sustainable energy,” wrote Musk on Wednesday of the process by which new bitcoin is created.
According to Coindesk, the price of Bitcoin fell slightly after the announcement.
As cryptocurrencies lose their value, the energy consumption of digital currencies is increasingly being scrutinized. Some estimates assume that Bitcoin consumes energy in more than the whole country of Argentina.
“Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to man, so it’s not a great climate thing.” Bill Gates said in February.
Mr Musk also said Wednesday that Tesla is “researching” other cryptocurrencies that use a fraction of the energy Bitcoin consumes. Mr Musk was a promoter of Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that started out as a joke that has exploded in value. in the an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” last weekMr. Musk described Dogecoin as “hectic”. Dogecoin fell almost a third in price on the night of the show.