In the latest round of Musk’s complicated, yet mostly positive, relationship with cryptocurrency, he said that both he and SpaceX hold Bitcoin on their balance sheets at the cryptocurrency conference called “B Word.” He didn’t say how much of it that he or SpaceX owns.
Tesla had briefly accepted Bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles but reversed course due to Musk’s concerns about the energy usage of Bitcoin mining. This led to the expected lineup of suggestions for more environmentally friendly cryptocurrencies, including ones that might be better suited than Bitcoin for buying a cup of coffee due to faster transaction speeds and lower fees. Musk says that Tesla might resume accepting Bitcoin if he can independently verify that cryptocurrency miners have boosted their use of renewable energy above 50% of their operations.
According to Coindesk, the price of Bitcoin briefly rose while Musk made his comments. He did acknowledge the effect that his public comments about cryptocurrency can have on its price: “I might pump but I don’t dump. I definitely do not believe in getting the price high and selling or anything like that.”
Tesla did sell some of its Bitcoin holdings, Musk says to prove liquidity, though it still had $1.3 billion in Bitcoin at the end of the first quarter of 2021.
SpaceX accepted the meme-inspired cryptocurrency Dogecoin for the “DOGE-1” mission, which will send a CubeSat to the Moon for Geometric Energy Corporation as part of its rideshare program. Geometric Energy Corporation also praised cryptocurrencies for their ability to get around limitations in the banking industry in a statement about the DOGE-1 mission.
Musk notably did not say if SpaceX converted the Dogecoin into Bitcoin after the transaction, though DOGE does seem to be his favorite cryptocurrency. He has even said that he set up a Dogecoin mining rig for his youngest son and joked that X Æ A-12 was “hodling his Dogecoin like a champ.” (Yes, he really did name his son that!)
He has admitted to also holding Ethereum and Dogecoin, though he says that his holdings of both are worth less than his Bitcoin holdings. On the topic of why he likes Dogecoin, he said:
“Doge community has great memes and loves dogs. I love memes and dogs. 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.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also put in an appearance at B Word, though he said very little about the number of Bitcoin scams that flew around Twitter, including at least one incident in which several accounts held by influential people like Elon Musk and Barack Obama were hacked to lend apparent legitimacy to the scams. Law enforcement authorities tracked it down to a 17-year-old in Tampa and two adult co-conspirators residing in Florida and the UK.
Instead, Dorsey plugged cryptocurrencies’ potential to become the de facto method of payment on the Internet. He said that cryptocurrency could help to solve issues and inequalities that are caused or exacerbated by the banking industry and regulations like KYC/AML that make it difficult for people worldwide to access financial services.