EV manufacturer Tesla has begun accepting Bitcoin as payment for its automobiles—and it won’t convert the cryptocurrency to fiat.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today on Twitter, that the EV manufacturer has begun accepting payment for its range of electric cars in Bitcoin. A Bitcoin payment button has appeared on the Tesla website.
Notably, the Tesla chief executive added that it will hold any Bitcoin paid to the company rather than converting it to fiat currency; it will be added to the cryptocurrency reserves the carmaker already holds.
Earlier this year, Tesla bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin. In its February SEC filing, the company said that it intended to accept payment in Bitcoin for its products, including its cars, in the near future. Tesla took just six weeks to fulfill its pledge.
Musk also revealed that Tesla is “using only internal and open source software and operates Bitcoin nodes directly.”
He added that Tesla customers outside the US will be able to pay in Bitcoin later this year.
Lambo vs Tesla
Bitcoin’s price reacted favorably to the news, climbing back over $55,000, having lost ground earlier this week. In recent weeks, Musk’s tweets, about both Bitcoin and “joke” crypto Dogecoin, have helped to move the markets.
But as the price of Bitcoin rises, commentators have pointed out that very few people are likely to take Tesla up on its offer, because they want to hold on to their Bitcoin as an investment.
And Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently told Decrypt that almost no one has paid the basketball team in Bitcoin, after it introduced the cryptocurrency as a payment option. “We actually took our first Bitcoin five or six years ago, only nobody bought anything [in Bitcoin], and the only reason I did it was to prove a point that no one’s going to buy anything,” he said.
Earlier this month, Musk updated his title to “Technoking of Tesla,” while Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn added the title “Master of Coin,” according to a regulatory filing. (They retain the titles Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively.)
But, with Bitcoin in the midst of a major market correction, Musk has seen his top spot on the list of the world’s richest people revised downward. The Tesla CEO was overtaken by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s richest people in January. He’s now worth a mere $171 billion to Bezos’s $184 billion.
That could all change if Musk can persuade people to part with their Bitcoin, and if Tesla overtakes Lamborghini as the Bitcoiner’s car of choice.
Read more: Decrypt