Musk, the billionaire serial entrepreneur who’s ridden Tesla’s soaring share price toward the top of the global rich list this year, asked whether it was possible to convert billions of Tesla’s dollars to bitcoin.
Musk, the CEO of both Tesla and satellite company SpaceX, was responding to Michael Saylor, the chief executive of MicroStrategy
“If you want to do your shareholders a $100 billion favor, convert the [Tesla] balance sheet from [dollars] to [bitcoin],” Saylor told Musk, replying to a bitcoin meme Musk had posted. “Other firms on the S&P 500 would follow your lead and in time it would grow to become a $1 trillion favor.”
Tesla’s share price has climbed an eye-watering 730% through 2020 and is poised to enter the S&P 500 on Monday as the sixth most valuable company, placing only behind technology giants Apple
Meanwhile, the bitcoin price has added around 235% this year, climbing to never-before-seen highs and ending a three-year bear market.
“Are such large transactions even possible,” Musk asked in response, triggering a flood of responses from the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community as well as Saylor, who told Musk he could share his bitcoin-buying “playbook” with him—”from one rocket scientist to another.”
Saylor didn’t immediately respond to a question asking if he had privately shared any details with Musk.
Saylor’s near-$500 million bitcoin bet, disclosed over the summer, has more than doubled in value since then, with the company announcing this month it has raised over $600 million via bond sales to buy more bitcoin.
Musk’s interaction with Saylor set the cryptocurrency community alight with speculation Tesla could put bitcoin on its books.
“The internet will break if Elon Musk converts any of Tesla’s balance sheet into bitcoin,” Anthony Pompliano, the founder and partner at bitcoin and crypto-focused hedge fund Morgan Creek Digital, said via Twitter.
Peter Schiff, a prominent gold investor and bitcoin skeptic, warned Musk not to “fall for this con.”
“Michael, like all involved in the bitcoin pyramid scheme, must recruit new buyers into the scheme to keep it going,” Schiff said, adding Musk shouldn’t “leave Tesla shareholders holding the same bag as MircroStrategy shareholders.”
Musk went on to make a series of bitcoin and cryptocurrency Twitter posts, saying that “bitcoin is [his] safe word”—a reference to a January 2020 tweet saying bitcoin is “not” his safe word—and “bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money.”
The bitcoin price climbed slightly following Musk’s bitcoin comments, hitting an all-time high of $24,300 per bitcoin on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.
Meanwhile, the price of “joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin leaped 15% after Musk made a reference to it. Musk’s Twitter bio currently reads: “Former CEO of dogecoin”—a reference to a 2019 Twitter poll in which he was voted the meme-based cryptocurrency’s chief executive.
Earlier this year, Musk made headlines when he weighed in on a tweet from Harry Potter author JK Rowling asking bitcoin to be explained to her.