Will Heath / NBC via AP
Tesla is making a quick turn on Bitcoin.
Months after Tesla embraced Bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday that the carmaker would no longer accept cryptocurrencies to buy cars because of its environmental impact.
Bitcoin is very energy intensive. “Coins” are created through a process called “mining”, in which powerful computers solve difficult mathematical problems. It requires electricity – a staggering amount of that.
“We are concerned about the growing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin exploitation and transactions,” Musk explained. in a tweet, “especially coal, which has the worst emissions of all fuels.”
The tweet comes just three months after Tesla surprised many by saying it would allow customers to pay for their electric vehicles with Bitcoin. And not only that, the company then said that it had invested 1.5 billion dollars in cryptocurrency.
It was a good investment. In his last quarterly statement, Tesla bitcoin holdings contributed significantly to its net profit.
But on Wednesday, Musk also said Tesla would no longer sell cryptocurrency.
From the beginning, the company found itself hit by a currency with a significant carbon footprint even though Musk said Tesla was committed to fighting climate change,
Bitcoin lovers point out that renewable energy sources can drive that mining. But critics point out that doesn’t mean there’s no impact.
And in some cases, Bitcoin mining actually has kept fossil fuel power plants in production if they were otherwise inactive, increasing the world’s carbon footprint.
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but it can’t have big environmental costs,” Musk also said on Twitter, a platform he often uses to comment on his companies.
The value of bitcoin fell by thousands of dollars in the minutes immediately following Musk’s tweet. But the price is still north of $ 50,000 per bitcoin – 100 times more than they traded five years ago.
In his tweet, Musk added that the company is open to other cryptocurrencies with significantly less energy requirements.
The announcement comes days after Musk subsequently led to the fall of another cryptocurrency, Dogecoin calling it “crowded” during the Saturday Night Live tour.
Dogecoin, which started as a joke, but with which it is supported real money, previously rose sharply in value after Musk expressed support for the cryptocurrency.