Elon Musk announced Wednesday that Tesla, his electric vehicle company , is no longer accepting bitcoin as a means of payment out of concern for the environment, as bitcoin mines consume a lot of electricity Tesla has suspended bitcoin car purchases. “We are concerned about the increasing use of carbon-rich fuels to mine bitcoins, especially coal, which has the worst emissions (greenhouse gases) in the world.
All fuels,” the whimsical billionaire tweeted. At the end of March, his tweet “Now you can buy a Tesla in bitcoin” had caused the price of the virtual currency to rise.
His company had invested $ 1.5 billion in bitcoin earlier this year At the end of the first quarter, its cryptocurrency portfolio was worth $ 248 billion, according to an equity document released in late April. But Elon Musk, who regularly shows his ambitions in terms of environmental protection, seems to have changed his mind.
The scientific journal Nature published a study last week showing that China’s bitcoin mines , which power nearly 80% of the world’s cryptocurrency trade, are at risk of jeopardizing the country’s climate targets . These computer-filled sites perform mathematical calculations that make the creation of bitcoins possible.
They consume enormous amounts of electricity, in part extracted from coal-fired power plants. According to the Nature study, if left unchecked, Chinese computer mines will produce 130.50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2024, or close to the total annual greenhouse gas emissions of Italy or Saudi Arabia.
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we think it has a bright future, but that doesn’t have to compromise the environment,” Elon Musk said. “Tesla will not sell bitcoin and we will use it for transactions as soon as the mines are powered by more sustainable energy,” he added.
This surprise announcement is a setback for the cryptocurrency. Since the beginning of the year, the adoption of bitcoin by Tesla, Mastercard and other large companies has pushed the currency to unprecedented levels in 2021. Bitcoin was trading around $ 52,500 on Wednesday night, but recently surpassed 60,000.