In an interview with Ploonge on stage at the Ethereum Denver conference, Tesla board member Kimbal Musk, brother of CEO Elon Musk, said the company was “very ignorant” about Bitcoin’s environmental impact when it announced last year that it would buy US $1.5. billion in cryptocurrency and plans to allow owners to purchase company vehicles with the currency.
“When we invested in Bitcoin, we were very ignorant. We had no idea of the environmental impact, we literally didn’t know, we were looking like a good store of value and a good way to diversify assets. And, of course, it didn’t take long to get a million — I’m not kidding, probably a million — messages telling us what we were doing with the environment,” Kimbal Musk said in an interview with this reporter. “And of course, our company is creating alternative energy futures, so we really weren’t informed enough when we made this decision.”
Kimbal Musk says that while Tesla “hasn’t necessarily regretted” its Bitcoin purchase, he hopes the broader blockchain industry can move to a greener infrastructure, noting that his own Big Green philanthropic organization has adopted a framework of crypto-native DAO governance operating on a less energy-intensive blockchain.
“I don’t really agree with the environmental impact of cryptocurrency, but I love what it does.” Kimbal Musk said on stage. “So we have to figure out how to do that without the environmental impact…. It’s just not an option to have that environmental impact.”
Tesla’s decision to buy bitcoin last year led to a major bull run for the cryptocurrency, although that surge was reversed months later by the company’s announcement that while it did not plan to sell its bitcoin immediately, it would no longer accept bitcoin as payment. for vehicle purchases.
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but it cannot come at a great cost to the environment,” Elon Musk wrote, partially, in an tweet last May. “Tesla will not sell any bitcoins and we intend to use it for transactions once mining moves to more sustainable energy.”
While there is still a lot of missing data on how much the Bitcoin mining network relies on renewable energy sources, it is clear just how significant the grid’s energy usage is. Estimates of DigiconomistThe energy tracker suggests that the total annual energy footprint of Bitcoin mining operations has nearly doubled since Musk’s tweet last May. The Bitcoin network contributes as much carbon to the atmosphere as the country of Kuwait annually, according to the website’s estimates.
Kimbal Musk has served on Tesla’s board since 2004.