Tesla CEO Elon Musk's younger brother, Kimbal, believes the automaker failed to consider the environmental impact of its Bitcoin investment. As you may recall, around a year ago Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of the crypto currency. It also briefly accepted Bitcoin as a form of payment for its vehicles and other products.
However, in an interview with TechCrunch at the Ethereum Denver conference Kimbal had the following to say:
“When we invested in Bitcoin, we were very ignorant. We had no idea of the environmental impact, we literally didn’t know, we were like this seems like a good store of value and a good way to diversify assets. And of course, it didn’t take very long to get a million — I’m not kidding probably a million — messages telling us what we were doing to the environment."
Kimbal also noted how Tesla aims to promote alternative energy usage and that their Bitcoin purchase may have gone against that goal:
“And of course, our company is about creating alternative energy futures so we really were not informed enough when we made that decision.”
That said, Kimbal stated Tesla "didn't necessarily regret" its bitcoin purchase but he does hope the blockchain industry as a whole can move towards more eco-friendly solutions. As mentioned above, Tesla accepted bitcoin for a brief period in 2021 before reverting back to traditional currencies only. Tesla did this as it was “concerned about [the] rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.”
Tesla's $1.5 billion Bitcoin investment led to a sharp rise in the value of the crypto currency, which eventually reversed a few months later. Still, by the end of 2021 Tesla's Bitcoin investment was worth $1.99 billion per a 10-Q filing with the SEC.