This Cryptocurrency Is Really Burning a Hole in My Pocket

Obviously bitcoin super fans tend to be Tesla super fans, and there actually tends to be a lot of symbiosis between those two groups, so it probably won’t surprise anyone at all. So I don’t know, it’s a little bit unclear how many people are going to be taking up Tesla’s offer to spend bitcoin on cars, but it seems like pretty good marketing to me actually in terms of speaking to that bitcoin audience and kind of formalizing all of these associations that we might have in our minds between EV enthusiasts and bitcoin fans.

MC: How would it work exactly? Do I just go to the website and pick out the car that I want and then give them my bitcoin information and then order the car?

LG: Well, Mike you’d have to have bitcoin to do that first, just an FYI. And as you stated at the top of the show, you’re not a crypto guy, so.

MC: I’m speaking hypothetically!

LG: [Laughing] Oh, OK, OK.

MC: … for the benefit of our listeners, Lauren.

GB: And that’s true, actually. In fact, Mike, you would have had to had one bitcoin at the time that they made this announcement, because that was, the value of a bitcoin was basically equal to the base model three. So just need one. But yeah, so this is something that still needs to be worked out. Tesla has basically said that they plan to take bitcoin at some point in the future. They haven’t said anything about the specifics, how they’re going to handle the payment processing. A lot of companies will actually say that they’re taking your bitcoin, but then they’ll actually convert it into something else first. That’s typically how bitcoin transactions work. For something like a car it might actually be easier to take bitcoin directly, because just the kind of transaction costs are less meaningful in terms of the total cost of a car. It can be expensive to use bitcoin just because of the energy and the fees that go into trading bitcoin. But that’s a long way of saying that, we don’t quite know just yet how the logistics will work.

LG: Greg, you’ve actually just reminded me at the start of the show I wanted to look up how much a single bitcoin was worth and then monitor it so we could gauge the price at the end of the show. OK, right now a single bitcoin is worth $47,892.92. So yeah, let’s see if we upgrade our Tesla cars by the time the show ends, depending on how much it fluctuates.

GB: Depends on how much Musk is tweeting through our podcast.

LG: Yeah. So Mike, you had a good question about whether or not we know Elon is actually serious about this, right?

MC: Yeah, like Greg just mentioned, Elon tweets about bitcoin. When he tweets about bitcoin, it actually meaningfully moves the price of bitcoin. I think you mentioned in your story, Greg, that at one point Elon put a hashtag bitcoin in his Twitter bio and the price shot up 20 percent. So, we know that he is fond of using social media to move money markets. As you’ve mentioned, other companies are interested in bitcoin, investing in bitcoin. Some financial institutions are investing in bitcoin and that collectively is moving the price up. But are we sure this isn’t one of Elon’s little ploys?

GB: That’s a really good question, Mike. I think that, what I should say first is that $1.5 billion, it’s a lot of money, even for Tesla. I think they had something like $19 billion of cash on hand as of this announcement. So, I mean, 1.5 billion out of 19, it’s a sizeable investment that’s happening.

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