Employees work on bitcoin mining computers at Bitminer Factory in Florence, Italy.
Alessandro Bianchi | Reuters
Elon Musk is known for a brain that combines the capabilities of a rocket-science supercomputer and self-driving algorithm, an ability to see the future that has paid off in one of the world’s biggest billionaire fortunes, and market’s largest companies, by being ahead of others in taking risks on going to Mars, electric cars and, long before that, a first big idea, finding and paying for things on the internet. But that doesn’t mean that on bitcoin, which Musk bought for Tesla‘s balance sheet earlier this year and profited from in the first quarter, he is out ahead in a way that other executives should be following.
He’s been merely keeping pace with retail investors from the Robinhood trading crowd and companies like MicroStrategy and Square, which were invested in bitcoin on their balance sheets before Tesla. Now, in citing the climate risks of bitcoin this past week as a reason to suspend the ability of Tesla customers to use the cryptocurrency as a payment method, Musk was entering a debate over the climate implications of bitcoin that isn’t news to anyone who has followed the market for years.
To experts who advise corporations, and to a growing group of chief financial officers, Musk’s back-and-forth on bitcoin does speak to real issues: Should more corporations be adding bitcoin