Tesla Was “Very Unaware” of Bitcoin’s Environmental Impact
Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s younger brother Kimbal believes the automaker has failed to consider the environmental impact of its bitcoin investment. As you may remember, about a year ago Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency. It also briefly accepted Bitcoin as a form of payment for its vehicles and other products.
However, in an interview with Tech Crunch at the Ethereum conference in Denver, Kimbal had the following to say:
“When we invested in Bitcoin, we were very ignorant. We had no idea of the environmental impact, we literally didn’t know it, we were like it seemed like a good store of value and a good way to diversify assets. And sure enough, it didn’t take very long to get a million – I kid you not, probably a million – messages telling us what we were doing for the environment.”
Kimbal also noted how Tesla aims to promote the use of alternative energy and that their purchase of Bitcoin may have worked against that goal:
“And of course our business is about creating alternative energy futures, so we weren’t sufficiently informed when we made that decision.”
That said, Kimbal said that Tesla “didn’t necessarily regret” its purchase of bitcoins, but he hopes the blockchain industry as a whole can move towards more environmentally friendly solutions. As mentioned above, Tesla accepted bitcoin for a brief period in 2021 before returning to traditional currencies only. Tesla did this because he was “concerned about [the] the growing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of all fuels.
Tesla’s $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin led to a sharp rise in the value of the cryptocurrency, which eventually reversed a few months later. Yet, at the end of 2021, Tesla’s Bitcoin investment was worth $1.99 billion per 10-Q filing with the SEC.