Musk ends Tesla support for Bitcoin citing environmental concerns

Elon Musk’s Tesla will no longer accept Bitcoin payments for its products due to “environmental concerns”. Musk, naturally, announced it by tweeting about it, and caused a massive price drop for the most popular cryptocurrency on the market. This announcement came just two months after Tesla announced its support for Bitcoin payments, as well as its decision to invest 1.5 billion US dollars.

“Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk tweeted and added: “crypto currency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.”

The environmental toll of Bitcoin has been well-known for a while now and I have zero doubt that Tesla’s analysts and Musk himself were aware of it when they made the initial decision to allow Bitcoin payments and invest in it. So this sudden concern for the environment is, to put it mildly, a little odd.

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Crazy turn of events, waiting to see if something happens over the next few weeks

Lol he pumped it so he could make money.


You may be right here. There are two sides to this. Musk has taken the path of least resistance (whether to intentionally negatively impact the price of bitcoin, or inadvertently) by stating the bl**ding obvious that Bitcoin mining uses energy.

On the other hand, it is also the case that competition should lead to private parties finding cheaper ways to mine than their competitors. It is my understanding that up to two thirds of the wind power generated in the UK is wasted because the wind turbines have to be turned down because the grid does not have the demand for the energy produced. Load balancing is a complex undertaking, but I listened to a Radio 4 program about a pilot scheme funded by the Government, in the Orkneys, where their wind turbines are switched to water electrolysis (separation of hydrogen and oxygen) as a method of energy storage, that is used later for commercial renewable energy. This process may or may not be efficient, but anything is preferable than spending large capital cost on wind turbines then intentionally turning them off because “the grid cannot cope”.

No doubt in my mind that Musk (not an idiot) has a bigger picture in mind that is helped by his seemingly banal words and actions in the short term. His solar tiles and residential battery bank business is suffering in the USA from cost over-runs, but if world governments are serious about rapid increase of renewables content, they need to look into where best to shift subsidies, from oil and gas exploration excesses of the 1980s where net cost to drill new wells in the North Sea was only 17p in the £, due to tax rebates on production, to support for renewables. Far from encouraging more ubiquitous adoption of solar panels, they chose to remove the subsidy. We are six years into an eight year payback period for our solar panels, so the numbers did add up, but I am unsure whether they still do. Musk is probably doing what he does best. Get stuff done instead of talking and infinitely looping ideas with no actions. People who get paid a salary regardless of outcomes tend to do this. Talk talk and no walk walk.

Whether Musk’s intentions are philanthropic or selfish does not matter. What matters is that he acts and acts fast where most others fear to go. And sometimes the world needs these mavericks to make generational shift in progress.


The narrative that “bitcoin is bad for the environment!” is controversial.

There are studies that explain how bitcoin provides incentives to develop and adopt renewable energy.

An interesting one is by Square which wrote a white paper titled “Bitcoin is key to an abundant, clean energy future.* where they:

…aim to explain how the Bitcoin network functions as a unique energy buyer that could enable society to deploy substantially more solar and wind generation capacity. This deployment, along with energy storage, aims to facilitate the transition to a cleaner and more resilient electricity grid. We believe that the energy asset owners of today can become the essential bitcoin miners of tomorrow.

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It just seems very contradictory that Tesla, a company benefiting massively from green credits, would ever be accepting of bitcoin with its rather large carbon footprint.

I am sure Musk doesn’t care one iota for the environment but Tesla PR is suffering terribly already, without the question of bitcoin hanging over its head.

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He pumped it and then dumped it. He knew exactly what he was doing, I have no doubt about it.

   I seriously doubt that his decision to stop BTC acceptance had anything to do with this concerns for environment. It was a very well formed decision to manipulate the market in his interest.

What I find suspicious is how he suddenly, just a few months after he started promoting Bitcoin, decided to drop it. He is incredibly rich and he has all the people and resources to be made aware of these things before investing, not to mention that Tesla is advertising itself as a environmentally conscious company, what with making electric cars and all.

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At least we still have diesel to pollute the world with the most toxic substance known to humans.

Political farce is what it all is. Not just this, but everything else. Loopholes, backdoors, alliances…

Soon, when there are no fossil fuels, we will have heavy metal poisoning instead. Choose your poison. It isn’t Bitcoin…it is the whole system.

Let’s consider plastics. What would we do without plastics? Well, we’d have a hard time getting things made. So many things are plastic, including all those little wires you’re using to pass electrons through so that you can read this, type to one another, call on the phone, drive your car, use the “environmentally-friendly” dishwasher etc. We just can’t exist in this system without it. I already mentioned diesel.

What about our electricity? Well, we could all go solar, but as mentioned, this is going to cause a problem not only with the metals in the panels, but in the batteries used to store the charge. Not only will we eventually have a poisoning problem, but we will have destroyed our water sources getting our lithium, or whatever other element/chemical we decide to use. Also, we will be wrecking our environment bringing to the surface (or taking it from the surface) these chemicals.

Is it all doom and gloom? No. Our system will end, but man…I’m sick of hearing rubbish like this. I mean I could go on all day, but I’ve already written half a page.

Regarding electrity, you’ve got solar, you’ve got wind energy, you’ve even got tidal energy. Most importantly, you’ve also got nuclear energy. Yes, incidents in fission nuclear power plants lead to bad, long-term consequences, but experiments in nuclear fusion are advancing each year. Eventually there will be a breakthrough, and fusion is incredibly safe for the environment. Change is possible, I think, but it’s a matter of time, will and money. A lot of money.

I read last year about a power plant bid by a German company for a build, own, operate solar plant in the Emirates was quoted at a price less than that of a gas fired power station. I found that hard to believe, despite our own solar array at home delivering exactly what was promised. After six years in operation, it is 85% amortized, and I am thinking of installing more subject to planning permission.

This article refers to a 400+ page energy report that supports this assertion. No doubt in my mind. We have reached the stage that government incentives are not necessarily required any more in developed countries to promote solar energy addition to the mix. However, I’d still like to see this in the UK where we receive less than 70% solar irradiation at our latitude compared with equatorial countries.

Yup this is what I think too.

Whether he does or he doesn’t it’s always wise to proceed on the understanding that he responds to fear and greed just like the rest of humanity.

Having studied lots of market bubbles, and characters and personalities who have fallen from grace because of the hubris and egotism at a market top - Musk fits that bill perfectly.

He is a constant attention seeker.

I am not saying Musk will go the same way as many others have done as their stocks have crashed, but the likes of Michael Burry are heavily short Tesla - he was right about subprime and he may well be right about Tesla too.

Burry certainly doesn’t crave the spotlight, unlike our weed smoking, flame-throwing Tesla CEO whose tweet storms are becoming as infamous Donald Trumps were.

He could come crashing back down to earth long before his space rocket trip to Mars is a reality.

Might be for taxes. Especially with the worldwide tax being approved and the unwanted attention cryptos bring to it.

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I had no idea. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.I am not buying the “environmental concerns” reason at all.

This could also be the result of the 75 BTC payment for the Colonial pipeline ransomware attack (I didn’t know much about it because I’m based in SE Asia). Operations began resuming on the 12th of May, so one day before the article was published? So the timing fits.

Apparently ~$350M was paid in crypto for ransomware in 2020, a YOY increase of 311%. Might not be the best time to be associated with crypto payments.

You think that attack had something to do with that decision? I confess that never occurred to me and it should have.

Honestly not an expert. I don’t even follow cryptos tbh. Just that news items like this catch my eye once in a while. Could even speculate that Elon’s pandering to China going by the news here, especially if you consider the statement on climate concerns.

The timelines are really striking though:

  • 12-MAY-20 - Colonial pipeline resumes operations
  • 13-MAY-20 - Tesla announcement
  • 18-MAY-20 - China bans crypto transactions
  • 20-MAY-20 - Biden Administration’s crypto crackdown.

Could be Elon either pre-empted it or got wind of the crypto crackdowns in Tesla’s two biggest markets.

Could public opinion be also be shifting in favor against cryptos? Not just with cyberattacks but news articles like exacerbated GPU shortages because of cryptomining (this lead to Nvidia trying restrict a recent model against ETH mining).

As a corporation I believe it was a good move for Tesla to distance itself from accepting cryptocurrencies for now atleast.