Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, is one of the most prominent figures in the cryptocurrency world. He frequently uses his massive Twitter platform to post about various digital assets, causing wild price swings that have some in the space questioning his true intentions.
Musk, on the other hand, sought to clarify that he is both a crypto investor and a supporter on Wednesday.
Musk said bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin are his only major personal investments outside of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX, speaking at an event called The B Word with Twitter (TWTR) and Square (SQ) CEO Jack Dorsey and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood to “explain how institutions can embrace Bitcoin.”
Tesla and SpaceX, he added, also own bitcoin.
Despite the recent turmoil in the crypto world, Musk stated that he is “a supporter of bitcoin and the concept of cryptocurrency in general.”
In response to Musk’s statements and actions at Tesla, the prices of several large cryptocurrencies, including the three he owns, have risen dramatically in recent months. In May, Dogecoin plummeted after Musk called it a “hustle” on Saturday Night Live. In the same month, Musk announced that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment due to the massive amount of energy required to mine it, causing the price to plummet.
But, in the end, Musk said at the event that the performance of digital currencies plays a part in his financial success. And, in typical Musk fashion, he phrased it in a way that regulators might notice.
“If the price of bitcoin goes down, I lose money,” Musk said. “I might pump, but I don’t dump. … I definitely do not believe in getting the price high and selling, or anything like this. I would like to see bitcoin succeed.”
A “pump and dump” scheme is a type of securities fraud in which someone tries to inflate the price of an asset by making false, misleading, or exaggerated statements (the “pump”) and then sells the asset to profit from the inflated price (the “dump”). The Securities and Exchange Commission monitors and prosecutes this type of scheme.
Musk isn’t a stranger to the CIA. He was charged with securities fraud in 2018 as a result of his use of Twitter, which included posting information about Tesla’s outlook. He agreed to a settlement that requires Tesla lawyers to review his company-related posts, which he has allegedly done twice in the last two years.
Musk and Dorsey also addressed environmental concerns about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which require enormous amounts of energy to power the computers required to “mine” them on Wednesday. There are a finite number of bitcoins, and computers must solve complex equations in order to access (or “mine”) them and put them into circulation; the more bitcoins mined, the more difficult and energy-intensive the process becomes.
Tesla halted bitcoin transactions in May after Musk revealed that the cryptocurrency’s network could be powered by coal.
“Tesla’s mission is accelerating the advent of sustainable energy. We can’t be the company that does that and also not do appropriate diligence on the energy usage of bitcoin,” Musk said. “Now, it looks like bitcoin is shifting a lot more to renewables.”
Musk stated that the company is keeping bitcoin on its books and that it will likely resume accepting bitcoin payments once around half of the power used to mine bitcoin comes from renewable sources like solar and wind energy, as he previously stated on Twitter. (Musk, on the other hand, is known for making promises and then breaking them.)
Dorsey, whose company Square has purchased billions in bitcoin and developed a crypto developer app, emphasized the potential to use various forms of unused energy to power cryptocurrency mining operations. He mentioned Great American Mining, a company that uses methane flares from oil fields to power its bitcoin mining systems.
“Just imagine all the unused energy that is being wasted every single day, and being able to get energy and converting it into a secure, sound money system for the planet,” Dorsey said.