Bitcoin dropped to a three-month low on Monday as investors sold cryptocurrencies in the wake of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s hinting over the weekend that the car maker is considering or may have already sold some of its bitcoin holdings.
Musk has boosted crypto markets with his enthusiasm for the asset class, but has lately roiled trade by appearing to cool on bitcoin in favour of its one-time parody, dogecoin. The gyrations are beginning to spook even steeled traders.
Bitcoin fell more than 9% on Monday to US$42 185, its lowest since 8 February, while ether, linked to the Ethereum blockhain, fell about 8% to $3 227.22. Dogecoin fell nearly 7% to $0.48, and all three are well under recent records.
Last week, Musk said Tesla would stop taking bitcoin as payment, owing to environmental concerns about energy use to process transactions. Defending that decision on Sunday, he suggested Tesla may have sold its own holdings.
In response to an unverified Twitter account called @CryptoWhale, which said: “Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings. With the amount of hate @elonmusk is getting, I wouldn’t blame him…,” Musk wrote: “Indeed.”
It is not clear whether he was confirming sales or whether he referred only to the fact that he had faced criticism.
Last week, Musk said Tesla would not sell its bitcoin, but the cyrptocurrency has dropped by almost a quarter since Musk’s reversal on Tesla taking it as payment.
Dogecoin is also yet to fully recover from Musk describing it as a “hustle”, although he did boost the price last week by saying he was working to improve its efficiency. — Reported by Tom Westbrook, with additional reporting by Radhika Anilkumar and Vidya Ranganathan, (c) 2021 Reuters