Mr Musk said that the environmental concerns about the cryptocurrency were too strong, but did not rule out supporting it once more if its energy use became more sustainable.
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” he wrote in a long statement posted as a tweet.
It means that not only did bitcoin drop sharply, but other currencies – including dogecoin, which is actually , and has been strongly promoted by Mr Musk – saw their price fall. Of the ten largest cryptocurrencies, all but one were sharply down on Thursday morning, according to tracking website CoinMarketCap.
A beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 19:58
How might climate concerns be addressed?
Elon Musk mentioned that Tesla would be interested in other cryptocurrencies that might offer a cleaner way of doing the same thing. What might those be, and how might they work?
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 18:23
Here’s a wrap on the biggest news of the last 24 hours – Elon Musk’s announcement that Tesla will no longer be taking bitcoin, and what that might mean, via AP:
Electric car maker Tesla will stop accepting Bitcoin as a payment due to concerns about the environmental impact of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, saw its value drop about 5 per cent to 51,847 dollars (£36,883) after chief executive officer Elon Musk tweeted the news.
Tesla said in February that it had invested around 1.5 billion dollars (£1.07 billion) in Bitcoin and it planned to begin accepting the digital currency as payment “soon”.
But Mr Musk tweeted on Wednesday: “We are concerned about rapid increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.”
He said cryptocurrency is a “good idea on many levels” but its promise cannot come at a “great cost to the environment”.
Tesla, he added, will not be selling any of the Bitcoin it owns, with the fair market value of its holdings as of March 31 was 2.48 billion dollars (£1.76 billion), according to securities filings.
Bitcoin relies on computers, which rely on electricity, to exist.
The number of computers and the energy needed to power them is rising – the growing value of bitcoin is directly tied to the amount of energy it uses.
Bitcoin miners unlock bitcoins by solving complex, unique puzzles and, as the value of bitcoin goes up, the puzzles become increasingly more difficult and it requires more computer power to solve them.
Estimates on how much energy Bitcoin uses vary.
A 2019 study by researchers at the Technical University of Munich and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that, in late 2018, the entire bitcoin network was responsible for up to 22.9 million tons of CO2 per year – similar to a large Western city or an entire developing country like Sri Lanka.
Total global emissions of the greenhouse gas from the burning of fossil fuels were about 37 billion tons last year.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 17:48
Man who claims to have created bitcoin sues to get claimed fortune
Here’s a report from Reuters on Craig Wright, who says he should have access to a bitcoin fortunte worth about £4 billion:
An Australian computer scientist who alleges he created bitcoin has launched a London High Court lawsuit against 16 software developers in an effort to secure bitcoin worth around 4 billion pounds ($5.7 billion) he says he owns.
In a case that was promptly labelled “bogus” by one defendant, Craig Wright is demanding that developers allow him to retrieve around 111,000 bitcoin held at two digital addresses that he does not have private keys for.
In his second London lawsuit in three weeks, Wright alleges he lost the encrypted keys when his home computer network was hacked in February 2020. Police are investigating.
Wright, who is bringing the case through his Seychelles-based Tulip Trading firm, concedes he is a controversial figure since alleging in 2016 that he wrote the bitcoin white paper – which first outlined the technology behind the digital assets – under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.
The claim is hotly disputed.
The Australian, who is autistic and lives in Britain with his wife and two of his three children, alleges in his latest lawsuit that developers have breached their duties to act in the best interests of the rightful owner of globally-traded assets.
“Our client has always maintained that he created bitcoin to operate within existing laws and that in the event of loss or theft, where legitimate ownership can be proven, the developers have a duty to ensure recovery,” said Paul Ferguson, a partner at law firm Ontier, which is representing Wright.
The case is being brought against the developers of four networks – Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Cash ABC (ABC) – at addresses in continental Europe, the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Japan, a court filing seen by Reuters showed.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 14:39
Facebook-backed crypto plan shifts to US
The excitement might be around Elon Musk today – but plenty more is going on too. There are developments in the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency plan, which used to be called Libra but is known as Diem.
Here’s the full report from the Associated Press:
A once-ambitious Facebook-backed digital currency project — formerly known as Libra, now called Diem — is shifting operations from Switzerland to the US and said it plans to launch a cryptocurrency tied to the U.S. dollar later this year.
As part of the move, Diem said it is also withdrawing its application for a payment system license from the Swiss Financial Markets Authority, which it has not been able to secure thus far.
The Diem Association, which includes Facebook and 25 other companies, said Wednesday has it entered a partnership with Silvergate Capital Corp. to issue a “stablecoin” backed by the U.S. dollar. A stablecoin is a digital currency backed by real-world assets such as national currencies or other commodities.
As the name implies, stablecoins are designed to not fluctuate wildly in value. That’s in sharp contrast to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, whose value is not tied to a real-world currency and whose price has ranged between roughly $9,000 and $63,000 over the past year.
Facebook announced the Libra project in 2019, at the time envisioning it as a stablecoin based on a basket of national currencies. Since then, the effort has been scaled back considerably amid regulatory and commercial backlash. It underwent a name change in December 2020.
Wednesday’s announcement represents a further scaling back as Diem shifts focus to the U.S. from its original ambitions to become a global currency for the unbanked around the world.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 14:32
Whole crypto market rocked by Musk announcement
Elon Musk mentioned no other cryptocurrencies in his announcement, and even suggested that Tesla could offer payments in other, cleaner coins in the future. But that has not stopped the announcement sending a variety of cryptocurrencies from plunging, presumably as people sell amid fears that the worries over digital currencies’ climate impact could affect the whole market.
Dogecoin – despite actually being relatively efficient, energy-wise – seems to be particularly badly hit. It’s now lost a third of its value over the last week.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 12:48
Musk calls energy use ‘insane’ in latest critical tweet
Elon Musk has tweeted again – calling bitcoin’s energy usage ‘insane’. Strangely, it does not seem to have affected the price particularly.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 11:22
Tesla announcement brings attention to
It’s not the first time in recent months that a viral post has drawn attention to the environmental cost of bitcoin. In March, a video showed a cryptocurrency mine hooked to an oil well – and drew criticism as a perfect example of how much damage digital currencies were doing.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 10:33
Crypto billionaire donates to India’s Covid fight – and coins crash
Cryptocurrency billionaire and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has made one of the largest individual philanthropic contributions ever, by donating Ethereum and “meme coins” similar to Dogecoin worth over $1bn to India’s Covid battle.
Unfortunately, the value of the currencies donated began to crash immediately after the gift was disclosed, making the total contribution worth considerably less.
On Wednesday Buterin, the 27-year-old co-founder of Ethereum, announced that he had contributed close to $1.5bn to a number of non-profit organisations, some of it from the more stable Ether.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 09:35
Announcement comes days after Musk teased support for Dogecoin
While Dogecoin does have an impact on the environment, it’s much cleaner than Bitcoin. There is no indication that the two are at all linked, or that one cryptocurrency will replace the other.
But those two tweets now stand next to each on Mr Musk’s timeline – which is, if nothing else, a notable contrast.
Andrew Griffin13 May 2021 08:17