Elon Musk's Stance on Bitcoin May Be Hypocritical, and Here's Why
If it's an exaggeration, then it is a small one: the fact that Bitcoin has lost more than 30% of its value in recent days was largely driven by Elon Musk's tweets. In the eyes of the public and the media, Musk has become perhaps the most influential technology evangelist. At the same time, the steps his company is taking may well be seen as rather inconsistent.
Not green enough
The drop in the value of the oldest cryptocurrency is associated with Tesla's announcement that the company will stop accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for their electric cars. Elon Musk explained this by environmental concerns: mining and Bitcoin transactions require energy produced from fossil sources.
Of course, the concern for the environment is a good enough intention, but it sounds like Elon Musk just now figured out what Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies mining costs the planet. And if so, he's a little late to the party — the problem has been known and discussed for at least several years.
And while Musk criticizes the energy consumption of the mining facilities, Tesla still has more than a billion dollars in Bitcoin on its balance sheet.
But profitable enough
Naturally, this pattern of behavior raises questions among crypto-enthusiasts and environmental activists around the world. Kelly Slater, an 11-time World Surfing Champion and climate campaigner, expressed doubts about Musk's sincerity on his Instagram:
“So a guy who owns an energy company doesn’t understand this stuff before he buys it? Has no problem taking the profits. Does he have an issue with kids mining cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo to build batteries?”
Similar sentiments exist in the crypto-enthusiast community. Crypto pioneer Nick Spanos also calls out Musk for lack of transparency in his comments to Cointelegraph:
“I challenge Elon that if Bitcoin is too dirty for him to accept as payment for his electric vehicles, then it should also be too dirty to ‘hodl’ for profits based on everyone else using it.
“It may seem a bit confusing that a man of his stature shows such carelessness in statements, whether it is intentional or not. We hope that Elon Musk understood that mining contributes only a tiny percentage to overall emissions and that the share of renewable energy in cryptocurrency mining operations was growing. Unfortunately, it all looks like a manipulative scheme at this point, and there is a possibility that some relevant agency will take a good look at the situation.”