Bitcoin surged to new highs on Monday after electric car maker Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) unveiled that it had purchased US$1.5bn worth of the cryptocurrency and that it is also planning to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment in the near future.
In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Tesla said it may hold and acquire digital assets such as Bitcoin under a new policy to “further diversify and maximize returns on our cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity”.
The news sent the Bitcoin price surging 15% over the last 24-hour period to US$43,809, down slightly from an all-time high of US$44,751 earlier in the day.
“Todays new that yet another huge US corporate is dipping its toe into Bitcoin, this time Tesla, to the tune of US$1.5bn, is great news for the sector and from what we know as industry insiders, this only just the start”, Malcolm Palle, chairman of crypto and blockchain venture firm Coinsilium Group Limited (LON:COIN), told Proactive.
“Tesla also said that they are looking to accept payments in Bitcoin across their entire product range; which should finally give the “what can you actually buy with bitcoin?” brigade something to hang their hats on. Coinsilium announced this morning that its crypto treasury was up 17% to US$2mln in just the last 3 weeks. Had we hung on another few hours we would have added another 10% to that figure!”, Palle added.
Tesla’s move marks a set up in support for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general by its founder and billionaire CEO Elon Musk, who on several occasions has supported Bitcoin and other cryptos through a variety of cryptic and overt tweets and statements.
Last week, a flurry of Tweets by Musk indicating his support for meme-based altcoin Dogecoin sent the price of the crypto surging to a record high of around US$0.082 on Sunday night before dropping back to US$0.076 on Monday.
“This is probably one of the biggest developments for the crypto currency industry. Tesla is going to be a major player in the auto industry and if it starts accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, it will give the digital currency further legitimacy. As more and more companies start accepting Bitcoin, this will only lead to further increases in demand in a market which is limited in supply. Therefore, the long-term outlook on Bitcoin remains bullish even if it is starting to look quite expensive in fiat currency terms”, said ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada.
Meanwhile, Markets.com’s Neil Wilson said Tesla’s support for the crypto “is the kind of backing that can take Bitcoin through US$50k”.
However, Wilson also highlighted that Musk’s multiple interventions to support Bitcoin “raises a real question about possible market manipulation”.
“Musk’s tweeting record is chequered to say the least (‘funding secured’) and he has had his knuckles rapped by the SEC in the past. The filing simply says that the investment policy was updated in January 2021 and ‘thereafter’ the company invested an aggregate $1.5bn in Bitcoin. Timing would appear critical. Tesla also says it may acquire and hold other digital assets. The move will also raise questions for fund managers who may not want to invest in a company with this kind of risk on its balance sheet – we know Bitcoin is very volatile – this is normal FX risk x100. Tesla is now starting to take on big FX risk – this may not worry a lot of investors, but some conservative types might be concerned”, he added.
Shares in Tesla were up 2% at US$869.48 in mid-morning trading in New York on Monday.
–Adds Coinsilium chairman comment, updates Bitcoin price and Tesla share prices–