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Musk says SpaceX holds bitcoin, Tesla ‘likely’ to resume accepting it

Popular cryptocurrencies edged higher on Wednesday, after Elon Musk disclosed for the first time that his private rocket company SpaceX holds bitcoin and Tesla would “most likely” resume accepting it as payment for its electric cars.

Musk outlined his cryptocurrency investments during a panel at “The B Word” online conference hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation, alongside Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter and payments group Square, and chief executive of Ark Invest Cathie Wood.

Musk said he personally held bitcoin, ethereum and the more niche dogecoin, while two of his companies, SpaceX and Tesla, were bitcoin holders — and would remain that way.

“We’re not selling any bitcoin, nor am I selling anything personally,” he said. “I would like to see bitcoin succeed.”

Answering to critics who accuse him of encouraging and profiting from wild crypto price swings with bold statements on Twitter, where he has more than 58m followers, Musk reiterated his commitment to the digital token: “If the price of Bitcoin goes down, I lose money. I might pump, but I don’t dump,” he said.

Bitcoin rose more than 5 per cent to $31,600, while ethereum was up by more than 7 per cent to $1,900.

During Wednesday’s discussion, Musk, Dorsey and Woods also touched on the challenges involved in scaling bitcoin, as well as its environmental impact.

Bitcoin and other digital coins enjoyed a dizzying rise from December through the beginning of this year, but much of those gains have been erased recently as regulators circle the freewheeling market.

In February, bitcoin soared after Musk revealed that Tesla had ploughed $1.5bn of its reserves into the cryptocurrency and said the company planned to accept payments in the cryptocurrency for its electric cars. However, he reversed course months later in May, citing environmental concerns about the mechanism used to validate bitcoin transactions, known as bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin critics have criticised the use of fossil fuels as sources of power for the energy-hungry currency. But Musk on Wednesday recommended hydroelectric, geothermal or nuclear energy be wielded more in future, and even proposed that one day a futuristic “space heater” might be used to mine cryptocurrencies.

“It looks like bitcoin is shifting more towards renewable and it looks like a lot of the heavy duty coal plants that were being used have been shut down, especially in China,” Musk said, adding that he intended to confirm that at least 50 per cent of bitcoin mining energy usage was renewable.

“There is a trend towards increasing that number. If so, Tesla would resume accepting bitcoin,” he said.

Sporting a tie-dye T-shirt and long beard, Dorsey said his hope for bitcoin was “that it creates world peace”. Last week, he announced Square was launching a platform for developers to create “decentralised finance” projects built on bitcoin, complex financial products denominated in cryptocurrency which cut out traditional middlemen.

Meanwhile, Woods urged companies to add bitcoin to their balance sheet, arguing it would act as “a hedge against inflation”.


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