Nothing gets Elon Musk riled up like criticism of his soft weak hands. Amidst rumors that Tesla had further reduced its exposure to Bitcoin, Musk took to Twitter to deny selling at the peak. He reiterated a positive stance on the cryptocurrency, stating that Tesla would resume acceptance of bitcoin for vehicle purchases if miners confirm “reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage”.
Previously, Tesla purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin in late January and early February, when the per-bitcoin price was around $34,000. Elon Musk maintains that Tesla has only sold approximately 10% of that initial purchase, which was first reported during Tesla’s quarterly earnings call in April. At the time, Musk claimed that Tesla performed the sale in order to prove “liquidity of Bitcoin as an alternative to holding cash on balance sheet.” However, the transaction resulted in a $101 million accounting boost for the company’s quarterly earnings. Without the bitcoin profit, Tesla’s adjusted earnings per share would have fallen far short of Wall Street estimates.
Musk’s announcement that Tesla will accept bitcoin payments conditional on miners’ clean energy usage may be another opportunistic play. Aside from Bitcoin, the majority of the company’s income derives from the sale of carbon credits. Last quarter, emissions credits accounted for $518 million in revenue out of a pretax income of $533 million. Most of these credits are sold to other auto manufacturers to meet emissions mandates, but maybe the newly formed Bitcoin Mining Council will become Tesla’s biggest customer.