Tesla Didn’t Sell Any Bitcoin During November’s Market Crisis
Tesla held its little remaining Bitcoin over the fourth quarter of 2022, according to data from the electric vehicle company’s latest earnings report.
Tesla Holds $184 Million of Cryptocurrency
Tesla’s report indicates that it had $184 million of digital assets as of Dec. 31, 2022. That amount is likely made up entirely or mostly of Bitcoin (BTC).
Though the value of those holdings is down from $218 million in June and September of 2022, losses seem to be due to devaluation rather than sell-offs on Tesla’s part. That means Tesla held virtually all of its crypto over the fourth quarter of 2022.
But although Tesla didn’t sell any Bitcoin at the end of the year, it has done so in the past. Tesla originally purchased $1.5 billion of Bitcoin in February 2021. Market prices fluctuated up and down, but the company’s holdings were worth as much as $1.2 billion until mid-2022 when it sold about 75% of its Bitcoin holdings.
In theory, Tesla’s willingness to sell its Bitcoin, combined with the market impact of FTX’s November collapse, could have encouraged the company to sell even more of its cryptocurrency holdings. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested last summer that the company’s sell-off was due to a need for cash, not due to Bitcoin’s decline in value. As such, it seems likely that the company will continue to hold its current balance.
Musk did not directly address the company’s decision to hold or sell Bitcoin during January’s earnings call. He did, however, note that the company is developing supercomputers for use in crypto mining as well as graphics applications.
Musk’s Crypto Connection
Musk and Tesla’s connection to cryptocurrency has recently waned. Tesla first began to accept Bitcoin in early 2021. However, the company soon dropped support for payments due to the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining.
Musk nevertheless went on to build an identity as a crypto advocate, appearing in Saturday Night Live in mid-2021 to satirically promote Dogecoin.
Musk then began to pursue a Twitter acquisition in 2022. Though his early statements suggested that he would integrate Twitter with blockchain and cryptocurrency, the Twitter deal went through several roadblocks and leaked documents soon suggested a shift away from blockchain. Furthermore, Musk’s leadership became extremely controversial, making crypto the least notable aspect of his plans for Twitter.
When the Twitter deal was finally completed last October, Musk’s once-planned cryptocurrency features were nowhere to be seen. However, rumors emerged on Jan. 30 stating that Musk plans to introduce a Twitter-based payments system with the potential to support cryptocurrency.
Despite Tesla and Twitter’s currently weak relationship with Bitcoin, Musk continues to engage with the crypto community on social media — driving hype for various assets.