Sometime in March, Tesla became the first automaker in the world to start accepting bitcoin. In other words: if you wanted to buy a Tesla, you could also pay with the virtual currency. But now all of a sudden that is over again. In a statement, Elon Musk says he is concerned about the CO2 emissions of bitcoins.
That in itself is not surprising. But it is strange that those concerns are now surfacing. As said: Tesla invested around 1.5 billion dollars in bitcoins earlier this year and also saw payment via cryptocurrency. And that while the issue of bitcoins emissions has been known for much longer.
Bitcoins must be 'mined'. Not with a pickaxe and hammer, but with computers. Thousands of them are busy solving complicated math problems and turning them into bitcoins minen. The power consumption of all those computers is also increasing, because it takes more and more computing power to find new bitcoins.
Chinese researchers have estimated that mining bitcoins will cost around 300 terawatt hours of electricity by 2024. That is more than Italy and Saudi Arabia consumed in 2016. If bitcoin were a country, it would rank twelfth in the global power consumer rankings.
Either way, this has been known for years. And there's no way Elon Musk will find out about this until now. Plus, it's a bit hypocritical. Payments with bitcoins will be stopped, but the $ 1.5 billion that Tesla has invested in bitcoins will remain unchanged. In April, the manufacturer sold 10 percent of its crypto coins, generating a profit of $ 100 million.
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