Tesla: bitcoin will be accepted as payment for Elon Musk’s cars, as price of cryptocurrency continues to rise

Elon Musk’s fascination with cryptocurrency continues, with the Tesla CEO announcing its cars can be paid for with bitcoin

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that his company's electric vehicles will be purchasable via bitcoin, alongside more traditional forms of payment (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Elon Musk has announced that drivers can purchase Tesla’s electric vehicles with Bitcoin a move which caused the price of the cryptocurrency to spike once again.

The news was delivered via a Tweet from Musk just after 7am UK time on Wednesday (24 March), and sent tech fans into a frenzy.

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Musk said bitcoin would be accepted in the United States and "will be retained as Bitcoin, not converted to fiat currency,” meaning the company will not exchange it for more traditional forms of cash.

Bitcoin rose 3 per cent against the dollar to $55,444.21 shortly after the tweet.

Last month, Tesla announced it had converted £1 billion of its assets into bitcoin, as Musk continues to position himself at the cutting edge of the tech world.

Despite excitement from fans, the investment drew scrutiny over its environmental impact, as the methods used to “mine” bitcoin require vast computing power, and therefore energy.

But the cryptocurrency’s growth shows no signs of slowing, with continued support from Musk and other tech leaders – like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and his Square payments company – driving the price up ever higher.

‘Tesla customers drive off vapourware’

The announcement comes just days after a Ford executive got into a Twitter spat with a Tesla investor, accusing the electric vehicle maker of selling ‘vapourware’.

Mike Levine, Ford’s product communications manager for North America, got into a heated exchange with investor Ross Gerber. A rivalry has been bubbling between ‘fans’ of the two firms since Ford launched the Mustang Mach-E, which is a direct rival for the Tesla Model Y.

The confrontation began when Gerber sent a tweet mentioning Levine that accused Ford of ‘ripping off EV customers’ by adding $5,000 mark up fees to the Mach-E, a common but frowned upon practice in American dealers who often add ‘market adjustment’ fees to in-demand cars to make more profit.

In response, Levine told Gerber that Tesla should “return those $10K full-self driving deposits. Mach-E customers drive away with a car. Tesla customers drive off with vapourware”.

Vapourware is a term used to describe a product that is advertised to the public but is late, has little chance of making production or never gets officially cancelled.

It was born in the software industry but is now used more generally for products including cars. The tactic is often used as a way of keeping customers interested and to prevent them from switching to rival products.