Elon Musk is once again causing havoc in the cryptocurrency markets.
After initially implying the opposite, Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has now stated that his company has not sold any bitcoin (XBT). His initial Twitter exchange had caused bitcoin’s losses to worsen.
The latest cryptocurrency saga began on Sunday, when a user known as CryptoWhale tweeted, “Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #bitcoin holdings.”
“With the amount of hate @elonmusk is getting, I wouldn’t blame him,” the user added.
Musk responded simply about an hour later: “Indeed.”
Bitcoin had dropped below $43,000 within hours, having lost more than 8% in the previous day, according to cryptocurrency tracker Coinbase. It had already lost some ground earlier in the day on Sunday, but the losses were accelerated following Musk’s post.
Musk later followed up with a tweet that stated, “To clarify speculation, Tesla has not sold any bitcoin.”
According to Coinbase, the value of the digital currency immediately increased by about 3.7 percent — from $42,566 to nearly $44,138 — within about five minutes of Musk’s tweet.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its cryptocurrency holdings.
Musk’s posts come just days after he caused another uproar by announcing last week that Tesla would abandon plans to accept bitcoin as payment for its vehicles. He cited the high environmental cost of bitcoin as the reason for the change.
“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,” Musk said in a note posted on Twitter last Wednesday. “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.”
For years, the environmental cost of mining — or creating — digital currencies has been well documented.
At the time, bitcoin was down about 12% as a result of the news. Musk had been personally promoting bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies, such as dogecoin, for months.
Just before that, the CEO had asked his Twitter followers in a poll if they wanted “Tesla to accept Doge.”
Tesla and Musk have appeared to be fairly bullish on bitcoin for at least a few months, with the company disclosing in February that it had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin and floating the possibility of purchasing its vehicles using the cryptocurrency. In late March, Musk tweeted that “you can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin.”
However, the company stated in a regulatory filing last month that it evaluates whether “events or changes in circumstances… indicate that it is more likely than not that our digital assets are impaired” each quarter. It also revealed at the time that it had sold 10% of its bitcoin holdings for a profit of $101 million.
Musk stated last week that Tesla will continue to use bitcoin once the currency discovers cleaner energy sources.
“Tesla will not be selling any bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy,” he wrote. “We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use [less than] 1% of Bitcoin’s energy/ transaction.”
Musk’s other businesses have also gotten in on the action. His space exploration company, SpaceX, announced last week that it would accept dogecoin as payment for an upcoming mission.