Fossil fuel concerns halt Tesla accepting Bitcoin

Published: 13 May 2021

► Tesla no longer accepting Bitcoin
► Change of heart comes after less than two months
► Climate concerns prompted decision

Tesla has stopped accepting Bitcoin as a way to purchase cars, because of concerns about the currency’s green credentials.

Technoking of Tesla, Elon Musk, announced in March 2021 that Tesla customers in the USA would be able to buy cars with Bitcoin.

It took less than two months for him to change his mind. The reason behind the switch is climate change concerns. Bitcoin is hugely reliant on fossil fuel at the moment, which is at odds with Tesla’s green ambitions.

Musk tweeted: ‘We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.

‘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.’

Musk has long been a proponent of Bitcoin and his continued investment helped prices surge. In February 2021, the electric car maker revealed it had bought around £1 billion of Bitcoin.

However, Bitcoin’s value fell by more than 10% after Tesla announced it would stop accepting Bitcoin.

Climate concerns

In the same announcement on Twitter, Musk said: ‘Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of="" bitcoin’s="">

Musk often tweets about Dogecoin. Proponents of this cryptocurrency claim it uses less energy than Bitcoin.

Musk isn’t the first person to have emissions concerns about Bitcoin. Mining Bitcoins is incredibly energy intensive.

Each Bitcoin is essentially a file, which you can store in a digital wallet. Every Bitcoin transaction is recorded in a public list called the blockchain.

Verifying these transactions is often called mining. Miners compete against each other in order to verify transactions. It takes powerful computers to do this, and the electricity used often comes from fossil fuels.

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By Murray Scullion

Petrolhead, journalist and traveller. Loves fast old cars and new tech. Deputy editor of sister site, parkers.co.uk.

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