On Friday (May 1), around 11:10 ET (or 15:10 UTC), Elon Musk’s Twitter account sent out a tweet that said “Tesla stock price is too high imo”, an action which the market immediately punished.
The day started with all major U.S. stock market indices in the negative territory due to three things: disappointing Q1 2020 financial results and bearish guidance for Q2; terrible U.S. unemployment numbers (around 30 million people filing initial unemployment claims since Mid-March); and yesterday’s threat by President Trump to impose further import tariffs on China for its poor handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Wednesday, Tesla reported its Q1 2020 financial results, with the company managing to achieve its third consecutive profitable quarter. Earnings per share (EPS) was $1.24 per share, and revenue was $5.99 billion.
However, what was much more interesting was what happened during Tesla’s Q1 2020 earnings call, with Musk angrily complaining in an expletive-laden rant about the U.S. government’s lockdown measures and expressing concern that he would not be able to resume normal operations in the near future at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California.
Well, things got even more crazy today when Musk, who is no stranger to controversy on Twitter, seemingly sent out a strange series of tweets starting at 11:00 ET, two of which are shown below:
I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 1, 2020
Tesla stock price is too high imo
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 1, 2020
Needlessly to say, the market did not find the tweet about the Tesla stock (NASDAQ: TSLA) price being “too high” terribly amusing:
Within one hour of that tweet, the Tesla stock price went from $761.31 to $687.54.
Of course, we cannot be sure that the Tesla CEO actually sent out these tweets, but as of 12:45 ET (on April 30), there still has not been any comment from Musk to say that his Twitter account has been hacked.
In February 2019, Musk, who is a co-founder of PayPal, founder and CEO of SpaceX, and a co-founder and CEO of Tesla, gave an interview to ARK Investment Management’s For Your Innovation (FYI) podcast, during which he gave his thoughts on cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular.
During the interview, Catherine Wood, the founder, CIO, and CEO of ARK asked Musk the following question:
“It’s about crypto — cryptoassets… I think you and Jack Dorsey have chatted a bit recently about this, right?”
“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:
Wanna buy some Bitcoin? 😉😉 pic.twitter.com/9ZbBJ5fuVq
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2018
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:
Twitter thought I got hacked & locked my account haha
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 23, 2018
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.”
“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.”
Then, on 2 April 2019, Musk commented about another cryptocurrency:
Dogecoin might be my fav cryptocurrency. It’s pretty cool.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2019