Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company will return to accepting bitcoin as payment when the cryptocurrency’s miners use more clean, environmentally friendly energy. The crypto-enthusiast and environmentalist has seen his core passions collide with one another.
CNBC said the billionaire was responding to pointed remarks from Magda Wierzycka, the CEO of South African asset manager Sygnia, who accused him of manipulating the price of bitcoin. Previously, Tesla bought US$1.5 billion (~RM6.2 billion) worth of bitcoin and later said it would accept the digital currency as payment for cars.
That policy was abruptly reversed last month with Musk declaring that the push for cryptocurrency “cannot come at great cost to the environment.” To be fair to the billionaire, even then, he maintained that Tesla will accept bitcoin transactions again when miners transition to “more sustainable energy.”
Of course, that statement as well as his latest one raise more questions than answers. Given the tremendous power demands of bitcoin mining, is that transition to cleaner energy even possible? Wouldn’t that require national-level, government-driven efforts to move away from ‘dirty’ energy sources like coal? Why seemingly put the onus on miners and how long would that transition take?
Finally, the billionaire-dollar question: Can enthusiasm for bitcoin be sustained until then?