As cryptocurrency enters the mainstream and demand for the digital assets increases, society is increasingly forced to reckon with its dark side: the fossil fuels used to mine Bitcoin and others like it. That issue is behind Elon Musk’s announcement that Tesla has dropped support for Bitcoin as a payment option.
Bitcoin is, by all accounts, here to stay. A single bitcoin is worth more than $53,000 USD right now and it is easier than ever for the average consumer to trade fiat currency for the digital money. Critics have expressed concerns for years now over the amount of energy needed to mind cryptocurrencies and the impact this could have on climate change efforts.
In a newly tweeted statement, Elon Musk said that while ‘cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future,’ Tesla will stop accepting Bitcoin for vehicle purchases. This is due to the ‘rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.’
The zero-emissions electric car company announced that it would accept bitcoin payments for vehicle purchases in late March. That announcement followed the automaker’s massive purchase of $1.5 billion bitcoin in February. In his new statement, Musk revealed that Tesla won’t sell any of its Bitcoin, but that it will use it for transactions ‘as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy.’
In what may throw crypto-investors into a frenzy, Musk also teased that Tesla is looking into other cryptocurrencies, specifically ones that use less than 1-percent of the energy required for Bitcoin. Tesla’s announcement follows a recent report from The Grist detailing the purchase of a former coal-to-natural-gas power plant that was fired back up to operate as a bitcoin mining operation.