Elon Musk on Wednesday said Tesla will “most likely” start accepting bitcoin again as more renewable energy is being used to mine the digital currency.
Tesla first started accepting bitcoin as payment for its electric cars in March, but discontinued the practice in May due to environmental concerns about fossil fuels being used to mine the cryptocurrency.
After Tesla said it would stop accepting crypto, bitcoin’s price plummeted by 14 percent — and has not recovered since.
Now, Musk said that the energy being used to mine bitcoin is becoming greener, which could prompt Tesla to reinstate payments.
“It looks like bitcoin is shifting a lot more towards renewables and a bunch of the heavy-duty coal plants were being used … have been shut down, especially in China,” said Musk. “I would want to do a little more diligence to confirm that the percentage of renewable energy usage is most likely at or above 50 percent and that there is a trend towards increasing that number.
“Most likely the answer is that Tesla would resume accepting bitcoin,” he added.
Using a cryptocurrency that is mined using dirty energy would be go against Tesla’s green ethos, Musk said.
“Tesla’s mission is accelerating the advent of sustainable energy,” he said. “We can’t be the company that does that and also not do appropriate diligence on the energy usage equipment.”
Musk made the remarks during a wide ranging at the B-Word Conference, an event sponsored by crypto proponents including Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square and Cathie Wood’s tech-focused investment firm Ark Invest.
Elsewhere during the event, Musk denied accusations that his public comments about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and dogecoin — which frequently cause markets to move — are part of a pump-and-dump scheme.
“If the price of bitcoin goes down, I lose money,” he said. “I might pump, but I don’t dump. I definitely do not believe in getting the price high and selling or anything like that, so I would like to see bitcoin succeed.”
Musk also acknowledged — apparently for the first time — that he personally owns ethereum. However, he added that his bitcoin holdings are much higher than his holdings of ethereum or dogecoin.
Bitcoin was trading up about 8 percent over the past 24 hours at around $32,000 as of midday on Thursday, while ethereum was up 10 percent at $1,961 and dogecoin was up 16 percent at 20 cents.
However, most of the cryptocurrencies’ gains were logged before Musk’s remarks.