Tesla suspends bitcoin payments for vehicle purchases over the negative environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining

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Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases made using bitcoin, according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk. 

“We are concerned about the rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk said in a tweet Wednesday.

Tesla reported buying $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin in February.

The electric-car maker will not sell its bitcoin holdings, and intends to use the digital currency for transactions as soon as “mining transitions to more sustainable energy,” Musk said

Musk has personally supported investment in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and dogecoin. Cambridge’s Centre for Alternative Finance reported bitcoin’s energy consumption — which is more than American Airlines, according to one measure — jumped 80% since the beginning of 2020.

Tesla suspends bitcoin payments

“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” Musk said.

Bitcoin’s energy consumption has recently come under scrutiny. Ars Technica reported a private equity firm revived a defunct coal-fired power plant largely to mine bitcoin. And The Washington Post said the Iranian government blamed a power outage on bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency advocates defend bitcoin by saying miners increasingly rely on renewable energy sources, but estimates vary widely about how much that’s the case, with studies saying anywhere from 39 to 74% of the bitcoin network’s energy usage is green.

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