Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his electric-vehicle company will start accepting Bitcoin (BTC) payments once there’s confirmation that miners are utilizing clean energy, offering a glimmer of hope that the FUD surrounding digital assets could soon subside.
Musk responded to a Cointelegraph tweet about recent accusations from Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka, who called on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the billionaire for allegedly manipulating Bitcoin’s price.
According to Wierzycka, Musk knowingly pumped the price of Bitcoin only to sell a “big part of his exposure at the peak.”
“This is inaccurate,” Musk said in a Sunday response. “Tesla only sold ~10% of holdings to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving [the] market.”
As Cointelegraph reported, Musk acknowledged in April that Tesla had sold a portion of its Bitcoin holdings to prove the asset’s liquidity as an alternative to cash. Just one month earlier, the billionaire confirmed that Tesla had added $1.5 billion worth of BTC to its balance sheet and would begin accepting the digital asset as payment for its vehicles.
However, Tesla’s embrace of Bitcoin-as-a-payment was short-lived after Musk flagged concerns over the cryptocurrency’s energy usage. On May 12, Musk tweeted that his company would no longer accept Bitcoin payments due to the network’s “increasingly rapid use of fossil fuels...”
Musk’s tweet coincided with a slew of negative headlines about Bitcoin’s energy usage, China’s intent to ban Bitcoin mining and an overextended crypto rally that was showing signs of weakness. The news cycle helped trigger one of Bitcoin’s most painful episodes, culminating in a 54% drop between mid-April and mid-May.
On Sunday, Musk laid the groundwork for when Tesla will once again accept Bitcoin payments:
“When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.”
As Cointelegraph reported, Musk was recently invited to a meeting of Bitcoin miners by MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor. The Bitcoin Mining Council, a voluntary, self-regulating industry body, emerged from the meeting with a mandate to exercise more renewable energy options and boost the transparency of cryptocurrency mining.
Despite all the criticism about Bitcoin mining, it’s estimated that a strong majority of miners already use alternative energy sources. Yassine Elmandjra, an analyst with Ark Investments, told CNBC in April that roughly three-quarters of miners use carbon-free sources in their operations.