Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla who recently added the title “Technoking,” said on Wednesday that the company would accept Bitcoin as payment for cars in the United States.
Tesla will hold the digital currency, rather than convert payments to dollars, and handle the crypto transactions internally, Mr. Musk said.
“Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as Bitcoin, not converted to fiat currency,” Mr. Musk explained in a tweet. That means when someone buys a Tesla with Bitcoin, the price of the car could well rise — or fall — over time. In other words, Tesla is turning one-time payments into assets with shifting value, or, essentially, investments.
Buyers outside the United States will have the option to use Bitcoin “later this year,” Mr. Musk said.
$1.5 billion in Bitcoin for its treasury. The announcement on Wednesday confirms speculation in the crypto community that Tesla would not simply contract out payments to a third-party processor and treat Bitcoin like dollars.
Since Tesla’s initial Bitcoin purchase in February, the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has soared to record highs, but trading has been volatile.
It’s clever marketing insofar as it makes the crypto community even more enthusiastic about their investments and Tesla, but as blockchain developer Mariano Conti told The New York Times in February, “I expect more people would rather hold their Bitcoin than use it to buy a Tesla.”