When electric automaker Tesla revealed in February that it had bought Bitcoin and, moreover, would accept it for car purchases, the price of the cryptocurrency rocketed up $4,000 in a matter of hours.
Now that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated the company will stop accepting Bitcoin for its cars until the blockchain network adopts more sustainable energy practices, the price of BTC has shed about the same amount in the opposite direction, bringing it just above the $50,000 threshold.
I wouldn’t buy a Tesla with Bitcoin anyway.
— Okung 💯 (@RussellOkung) May 12, 2021
But a little price volatility never stopped Crypto Twitter from having a good time.
The biggest thing people marveled at was: Did Elon Musk know how Bitcoin mining worked? The process of minting new Bitcoins and validating transactions is purposely energy-intensive because the investment of those resources makes the network more secure. But Musk's announcement reads as though he's just getting wind that some people use fossil fuels to generate electricity.
"Gotta love the due diligence process over at Tesla," wrote Aubrey Strobel of Bitcoin shopping app Lolli.
"Elon and Tesla performed less due diligence buying a billion of Bitcoin than I do on my average shitcoin trade," quipped Rob Paone of crypto recruiting firm Proof of Talent.
Gotta love the due diligence process over at Tesla.
— Aubrey Strobel (@aubreystrobel) May 12, 2021
Elon and Tesla performed less due diligence buying a billion of Bitcoin than I do on my average shitcoin trade
— Rob Paone (@crypto_bobby) May 12, 2021
What changed, @Elonmusk? pic.twitter.com/CNu48NEBcH
— Documenting Bitcoin 📄 (@DocumentingBTC) May 12, 2021
The environmental impact has been discussed for years—although the extent to which the network relies on renewable energy sources is debated (with Bitcoin bull Michael Saylor, for example, tweeting that the "net impact on fossil fuel consumption over time will be negative"). Thus, something else could be going on here. One obvious possibility is that Tesla was taking heat from investors, employees, and/or customers who had bought into Tesla's green image.
Arcane Assets CIO Eric Wall wrote that it could be a "'mea culpa' defense in the face of misguided environmentalists and regulators."
Or they did research and they're just bowing to vaguely-misinformed public pressure?
— Matt Corallo (@TheBlueMatt) May 12, 2021
Tesla ceasing acceptance for bitcoin payments (which is probably miniscule part of their biz, be real) while retaining their multi-billlion dollar bitcoin exposure gives them a cheap ”mea culpa” defense in the face of misguided environmentalists and regulators.
It is smart.
— Eric Wall (@ercwl) May 12, 2021
CoinShares CSO Meltem Demirors said there's more to being a socially responsible company than just the environment. "On social equity, bitcoin enables people to escape tyranny, censorship, financial violence, redlining and improves access," she wrote.
#bitcoin's ESG footprint isn't just about the environment
on social equity, bitcoin enables people to escape tyranny, censorship, financial violence, redlining, and improves access
on governance, bitcoin is permissionless and runs on open-source software
get with it ppl
— Meltem Demir◎rs (@Melt_Dem) May 13, 2021
But Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports and on-again/off-again Bitcoin investor, suggested the environment was just an excuse. In Portnoy's estimation, the CEO is manipulating the market after Tesla sold off some of its BTC holdings last month.
"Shady shit," he said in a video.
Emergency Press Conference - Elon is Trying To Tank #Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/3Tl8LgB3mD
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) May 12, 2021
Since Musk's tweet declared that Tesla was still open to investing in cryptocurrencies that use less than 1% of Bitcoin's energy consumption per transaction, some wanted to know whether that meant Tesla would begin accepting Dogecoin.
But more than anything, it was a chance for no-coiners to laugh at those who put their faith in Musk, who has repeatedly promoted joke token Dogecoin via tweets and his recent SNL performance.
Tesla June 2021: Sells all bitcoin, buys Ethereum and says not selling!
Tesla July 2021: You can now buy Tesla with Ethereum. We promise not to sell!
Tesla August 2021: Tesla sells Ethereum to "test" liquidity.
Tesla September 2021: Tesla no longer accepts Ethereum for Tesla's
— 𝙱𝚒𝚝𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚡'𝚎𝚍 🔥🌷 (@Bitfinexed) May 12, 2021
I have nothing insightful to say except “how predictable”
— Bennett Tomlin (@BennettTomlin) May 12, 2021
Wrote data scientist and Tether investigator Bennett Tomlin, "I have nothing insightful to say except 'how predictable.'"