Tesla has announced that it has bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin and will start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment, according to an SEC filing Monday. The company said it purchased the bitcoin for “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.” The news makes Tesla the first automaker to accept the cryptocurrency.
Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, told CNBC in a statement that this should give bitcoin a boost. “What did Tesla tell you? Two things. One is that this will be a form of payment. And two is that this is an investment vehicle. So those are two powerful endorsements for the notion, I want to stress the notion, that bitcoins are a currency, a money, because after all money is a store of value. Money is a form of payments. So yes, that will build further momentum. As to the reaction, it’s going to be all over the place. Some will see it as visionary, others will say ‘wait a minute, if I want to invest in bitcoin, I’ll do it directly, I don’t need Tesla to do it for me.’ … So you’re going to see a whole range of reactions but for bitcoin holders, [Monday’s] good news.”