Op-Ed: Tesla CEO & founder Elon Musk calls bitcoin technology brilliant

Posted Feb 22, 2019 by Ken Hanly
Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Tesla and SpaceX has made public his belief that cryptocurrencies offer an improved alternative to conventional money. He also claims that bitcoin's technology is brilliant.
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
The ARK interview
Musk talked about his views in an interview with the Investment firm ARK on Feb. 19. The entire podcast interview can be found here.
Musk said that he believes that bitcoin's structure is quite brilliant and added: “It [cryptocurrency] bypasses currency controls. … Paper money is going away. And crypto is a far better way to transfer values than a piece of paper, that’s for sure.”
Why Tesla is not applying bitcoin technology now
Musk noted the large amount of energy used by bitcoin miners as they use a large computing network to secure the ledgers. This activity also produces more bitcoins. He says that Tesla is a company that wants to boost the adoption of sustainable energy so it might not be a good use of Tesla's resources to be involved in crypto-currencies. Bitcoin mining is a very energy intensive process. Tesla could always adopt the technology without the mining techniques of bitcoin and many other cryptocoins. There are cryptocurrencies that do not involve mining. Ripple is an example. The two types of coin are compared in this article.
Rather surprisingly, Musk does not mention the fact that unlike the value of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies tend to have very volatile price ranges except for stable cryptocurrencies such as Tether whose value is tied to the US dollar. This volatility makes bitcoin less viable as a medium of exchange as compared to fiat currencies on the whole.
It looks as if it will be a while yet before Tesla invests in or uses bitcoin technology.
Musk's earlier remarks on cryptocurrencies
In October of last year Musk sent a mysterious tweet about buying bitcoin that generated a lot of speculation on social media but he says now it was a joke. The tweet can be found in this article along with several humorous responses. Twitter thought his account had been hacked and closed it briefly.
Musk impersonators
Musk has been impersonated many times on Twitter by scammers who have tried to use his profile’s likeness in crypto “give-away” schemes. Twitter even promoted one of the scammer's schemes as described in this article: "The incident is notable given that it involved a verified account but also that the scam information was circulated by way of a promoted tweet. Promoted tweets are paid for and are generally used by advertisers to reach a wider audience than they normally would through their existing network of followers, taking advantage of search trends (in this case, the public interest around the controversial Tesla CEO) to boost performance and visibility."