By Mark DeCambre
Prices of the world’s No. 1 crypto on Sunday were trading sharply higher, as digital-asset bull Elon Musk said Tesla would resume allowing transactions at the vehicle-maker’s stores when key members of bitcoin infrastructure can confirm that 50% of the energy used to mine for bitcoin is derived from clean energy sources.
The Sunday afternoon tweet from the CEO of Tesla was a part of an exchange where Musk, in apparent reply to a Twitter missive referencing a CoinTelegraph article accusing the technofile of “Bitcoin pump and dump,” said that the company retains a chunk of its $1.5 billion initial investment in crypto but sold approximately 10% “to confirm [bitcoin] could be liquidated easily without moving the market.”
Musk has become a prominent and influential crypto voice, whose tweet in May, saying that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment for its vehicles , citing the large carbon footprint of digitally mining for bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD -4.43% , was blamed for sparking a selloff in crypto. Musk’s comments on the sustainability of bitcoin mining activities continues to resonate in the crypto community.
A often-cited University of Cambridge index pegs the yearly power consumption of bitcoin mining at around 99 terawatt-hours, more than the power usage of the Philippines or Pakistan.
A number of Musk’s recent tweets also have sparked in the crypto community a mix of ebullience, confusion, apprehension and, at times, dread. Earlier this month, investors attempted to parse an enigmatic tweet from the SpaceX that included a bitcoin symbol and a broken-heart emojii.
His social-media missives have had outsize influence on the prices of dogecoin /zigman2/quotes/226077044/realtime DOGEUSD -7.03% and bitcoin and he’s at least partly blamed for the current slump in bitcoin and the broader crypto complex. An article last month in The Wall Street Journal described him as bitcoin’s biggest influencer .
At last check Sunday afternoon, bitcoin prices were up nearly 8%, changing hands at $38,808.09 on CoinDesk . Bitcoin has gained over 28% in the year to date but is about 40% down from its mid April peak at $64,829.14. The world’s No. 2 crypto, Ether /zigman2/quotes/108573964/realtime ETHUSD -6.38% on the Ethereum blockchain, was up nearly 5%, changing hands at $2,521.81.
Back in February, Tesla revealed that it acquired some $1.5 billion in bitcoin in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
MarketWatch’s sister publication Barron’s estimates that Tesla paid about $38,000 per bitcoin , basing that value on the average price of the asset between Tesla’s fourth-quarter conference call on Jan. 27, where it didn’t mention any bitcoin holdings, and the filing date.
In general, prices of digital assets like bitcoin are outperforming traditional markets.
On Friday , the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.15% closed at a record high and is up by about 13% so far in 2021, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.10% is up more than 12.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.03% has risen over 9% thus far in the year.