Technology

Bitcoin tops $40,000 after Elon Musk says Tesla may accept it again

Bitcoin crossed the $40,00 mark on Monday after Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla may resume accepting it as payment for its cars.

The volatile cryptocurrency jumped 10 percent to around $40,500 midday trading Monday, up from about $36,000 Sunday morning, according to Coindesk data. While that’s still far below bitcoin’s all-time high of nearly $65,000 in April, it represents a recovery from the recent low of just above $30,000 in May. 

The rally was kicked off Sunday when Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company plans to resume bitcoin transactions once the energy used to mine bitcoin is cleaner. 

“When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions,” Musk tweeted Sunday afternoon.

Bitcoin went north of $40,000 in early noon trading.

About 39 percent of bitcoin’s energy usage comes from renewable resources like solar and hydropower, according to a September 2020 study from Cambridge University’s business school. That leaves the digital asset 11 percent short of Musk’s target.

Musk hinted at resuming bitcoin payments in the Twitter replies to a Cointelegraph article in which the CEO of a South African financial services company blasted Musk for talking-up the price of bitcoin and then selling “a big part of his exposure at the peak.” 

Musk said the article was “inaccurate.” 

“Tesla only sold ~10% of holdings to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving market,” Musk said. 

Tesla first announced it would accept bitcoin payments for its vehicles in March, then suspended its use in mid-May after Musk voiced concerns about fossil fuel usage in bitcoin mining. Bitcoin fell about 7 percent on the news. 

About 39 percent of bitcoin's energy usage comes from renewable energy, according to a September 2020 Cambridge University study.
About 39 percent of bitcoin’s energy usage comes from renewable energy, according to a September 2020 Cambridge University study.
REUTERS/Edgar Su

The details of Tesla’s crypto holdings and sales are unclear, but Musk’s statement Sunday that Tesla sold 10 percent of its bitcoin comes after he claimed in May that Tesla had not sold any bitcoin

Tesla did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

Musk is far from the first person to voice concerns about the energy used in bitcoin mining, which is comparable to the entire country of Argentina, according to Coindesk


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