Elon Musk Calls Bitcoin ‘Quite Brilliant’, ‘Some Merit to Ethereum As Well’

Siamak Masnavi

In the most recent episode of ARK Investment Management's For Your Innovation (FYI) podcast, which was released on Tuesday (February 19th), technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal and the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, gave his thoughts on cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular.

In this episode of the FYI podcast, Catherine Wood, the founder, CIO, and CEO of ARK, and one of ARK's analysts, Tasha Keeny, had a chat with Musk about the future of Tesla and autonomous driving. However, since ARK Invest is focused on "exponential growth opportunities resulting from disruptive innovation", towards this episode, Wood turned the conversation to the topic of cryptocurrencies, which has been getting more mainstream attention recently following Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's comments on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Here was Wood's question:

"It's about crypto -- cryptoassets... I think you and Jack Dorsey have chatted a bit recently about this, right?"

Musk replied:

"Bitcoin and Ethereum scammers were so rampant on Twitter that I decided to join in. I said 'Wanna Buy some Bitcoin?'.

Anime fan Musk was referring to a very popular Twitter post he made on 23 October 2018, which has so far had 8,678 Retweets and 25,579 Likes:

Shortly afterwards, Musk, who has been impersonated by "crypto giveaway" scammers many times, temporarily lost access to his Twitter account because the Twitter team thought that Musk's account had been hacked and that the Bitcoin-referencing tweet had come from someone else:

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao ("CZ") had some fun with Musk's tweet about Bitcoin, and replied to Musk with this tweet:

Getting back to Musk's interview with ARK Invest, he talked about his account getting suspended following his mischievous Bitcoin tweet:

"My account got suspended because of some automatic rule... I was just joking!"

Wood then asked Musk if he agreed with Jack Dorsey that "there is going to be one native cryptocurrency when it comes to the internet" and that this cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Musk answered:

"It's interesting. I have some friends of mine that are really involved in crypto. I mean, I think, the Bitcoin structure was quite brilliant. It seems that there is some merit to Ethereum as well, and maybe some of the others. But I am not sure that it would be a good use of Tesla resources to get involved in crypto... I mean, think, actually, one of the downsides of crypto is that computationally it's like quite energy intensive."

Wood then reminded Musk that in Africa, most crypto transactions were business-to-business (B2B) and not an individual paying for a can of Coke or a pizza, that over there it is "prohibitively expensive to convert from one nation's currency to another", that it is "money over IP for them", and that this was really important "for opening up the world."

Musk commented:

"It bypasses currency controls. Paper money is going away, and crypto is a far better way of transferring value than pieces of paper. That's for sure. That has its pros and cons."

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