Elon Musk: ‘I Lose Money on Bitcoin’ But Tesla Likely to Accept It as Payment Again

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock (12210290c)Elon Musk walks from the the justice center in Wilmington, Del.
Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock / Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock

The B Word Conference, a Bitcoin-focused initiative that aims to demystify and destigmatize mainstream narratives about Bitcoin, featured an array of heavy hitters today, including Cathie Wood, Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. The conference, aimed to explain how institutions can embrace Bitcoin and raise awareness around areas of the network that need support, comes amid the crypto’s severe decline in the past few weeks.

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In the session called “Bitcoin as a Tool for Economic Empowerment,” in which Musk, Wood and Dorsey were the keynote speakers, topics included bitcoin’s energy usage — one of the biggest controversies surrounding the crypto — as well as  the hopes for the future of the crypto and issues around Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.

Wood, CEO of Ark Invest, said that she believes that “bitcoin will be much more environmentally friendly certainly than gold mining or the traditional financial services sector,” adding that “in many ways, it already is.”

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Related: Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest Files To Create Bitcoin ETF

Musk, who was introduced as the “Technoking of Tesla,” addressed the electric vehicle company’s reversal on accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment due to its energy usage, which can be summed us as follows according to a statement Musk made at the time of the announcement: “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. 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.”

During today’s conference, Musk said that Tesla would “resume most likely accepting Bitcoin,” as he noted the positive trend of the energy usage partly due to the price drop of the crypto, the shift toward renewable energy and the recent shutting down of Chinese Bitcoin mines.

He added that the company stopped accepting payments as it was “too sketchy” and not in line with the company’s mission.

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Musk also said that in addition of Bitcoin, he owned Ethereum and Dogecoin, which he hyped up a few times during the panel. He said that even when Bitcoin’s price goes down “I lose money. I pump but I don’t dump. I would like to see Bitcoin succeed.”

He also talked about Doge, saying: “The Doge community, I think, is somewhat irreverent obviously […] and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The most ironic and entertaining outcome would be that the cryptocurrency that was started as a joke to make fun of cryptocurrencies ends up being the leading cryptocurrency.”

Wood addressed the current issue of institutions facing question about ESG around Bitcoin, but she said that in terms of the social aspect, from Ark Invest’s point of view, Bitcoin is saving lives as it is allowing access to payment technologies around the world without friction and “egregious fees.”

“And on governance, we have transparency of the ecosystem, unlike the opaqueness of the financial system and the traditional financial world,” she said.

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Asked about his hopes for Bitcoin, Square and Twitter CEO Dorsey said, “my hope is that is creates world peace or helps create world peace”

“We have all these monopolies of balance and the individual doesn’t have power and the amount of cost and distraction that comes from out monetary system today is real and it takes away attention from the bigger problems […] You fix that foundational level and everything above it improves in such a dramatic way. It’s going to be long-term but my hope is definitely peace,” he said.

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Last updated: July 21, 2021

About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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