For a while, it seemed like Elon Musk was the hero that Bitcoin fans had been waiting for. Tesla is holding more than a billion dollars worth of bitcoins, the company disclosed in February, and announced it would be accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for its electric cars.
But the seemingly perfect match between the mercurial whims of the terminally online CEO of an electric car company and the fortunes of an electricity-powered currency that was memed into existence was not to last.
Musk announced in a tweet last week that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for its cars due to environmental concerns. "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." Tesla will not sell its bitcoins, Musk tweeted, and will use it for transactions "as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy." The company is also "looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin's energy/transaction.”
It is hard to overstate how big of a psychical bomb this is for Bitcoin fans. It might as well have been engineered by NASA scientists to make them lose it. Besides being a very public betrayal, it wades into the energy debate that has rankled cryptocurrency fans recently due to what they see as common misunderstandings. Bitcoin undoubtedly has a notable carbon footprint (like anything that uses electricity, such as computers or electric cars), but for technical reasons it can't be broken down into "energy use per transaction" calculations, as Musk did. The precise mix of energy sources powering Bitcoin (which includes fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, as well as various renewable sources) is also a source of heated debate. And to top it all off, Musk did a little bit of trolling propping up Dogecoin as being better than Bitcoin in a tweet.
Needless to say, none of this has gone over well at all and the usually somewhat reliable online cosmos have been thrown into chaos as weird nerds attack a weird nerd CEO who is defended by other weird nerds over something that most people don't think about at all.
"Elon Musk exposing himself as a barefaced sciolist. No different from Craig 'Faketoshi' Wright," screamed one Reddit post on r/Bitcoin with 3,000 points.
"This is why people should stay in their lane," the poster wrote. "The cult of Elon has deluded themselves into believing their own bullshit that he's some sort of frickin' polymath."
A very normal "letter, to Elon" posted to the subreddit earned more than 3,000 points and flipped Musk's own Bitcoin note. "Bitcoiners will not be selling any Bitcoins for Tesla cars and we intend to use them for transport as soon as Elon Musk transitions to more contextualized data."
"Let's just say it, fuck Elon," another popular post put it straightforwardly.
"Pls stop talking about Elon. Bitcoin has been successful without him. It doesn’t matter what Elon says. Just ignore what he is saying. He is not Jesus nor the crypto god," was the title of another recent Reddit post that earned more than 5,000 points.
Bitcoin took a tumble after Musk's statements, with more than $10,000 being chopped off the price of 1.0 BTC since Musk's initial tweet, though it's still going strong at north of $40,000 USD.