In a rare commentary by Elon Musk on cryptocurrency, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX said that Bitcoin "is pretty brilliant."
"Paper money is disappearing and cryptography is a much more efficient way of transferring value than bits of paper, for sure, but it has its advantages and disadvantages."
Musk also gave Ethereum props on the ARK Investment podcast Tuesday (listen here):
"It seems that Ethereum also has merit."
Elon Musk: Bitcoin is great, but Tesla does not go to Full-Crypto
Elon Musk, a billionaire engineer / entrepreneur who played a major role in digital payments when he merged his X.com online banking start-up with Peter Thiel's outfit just a few blocks to form Pay Pal.
Despite his praise for Bitcoin and his belief that cryptocurrency will inevitably become the dominant financial infrastructure for the world, Musk said he would not involve Tesla Motors in the space:
"But I'm not sure it would be a good use of Tesla's resources to get involved in cryptography."
Of course, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency are not things that should take time in Musk. He works an average of 42 hours a week in Tesla and 40 hours a week at SpaceX. He would know – he organizes his day in slots of 5 minutes.
Crypto, a major opportunity for well-established technology companies
Tesla is an automotive company and SpaceX is an aerospace technology company. They are both very special companies, the only ones in the world to do exactly what they do on the same scale. The most lucrative opportunity to reap years of huge monopolistic profits once they reach the ladder is a most lucrative opportunity and they must stay focused on that.
And Tesla is not yet profitable, and SpaceX is not really profitable either. They have a few years of daily battles in front of them to reach this summit in their own area.
On the other hand, the old guard techs, such as Microsoft and Google, who have had many years to sit down and reap that kind of profit, have plenty of skin left over to put in the game, and they are quite smart in the cryptocurrency industry, at least indirectly.
Microsoft's cloud services will support the next Bakkt cryptocurrency exchange on the New York Stock Exchange. Google, along with Goldman Sachs, has been one of the biggest investors in the cryptocurrency industry.
The day Musk commented on crypto, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, Google became the first technology giant to add the Bitcoin symbol to the keyboard of its iOS apps.
Tesla may not enter Bitcoin, but Crypto will enter cars
Although it may be many years before Tesla has sufficiently mastered its current business to make a serious cryptocurrency incursion, it seems likely to me that this is Tesla's specialty in electric batteries and ultracapacitors.
This will create many opportunities for Tesla to get involved in Proof of Work crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, because of the very close relationship that exists between PoW parts and electricity, just like the comment from this user of Reddit on the Bitcoin subtitle 2 years ago:
"It's the future of Bitcoin. Ability to convert unused electricity into cash and, if necessary, use this money to buy back electricity. "
Why Tesla will finally dive into Bitcoin
One can easily imagine that Tesla and other similar high tech energy companies are decentralizing the power grid. Instead of a centralized power grid where each end user draws its electricity from a central source of power produced in series, imagine a decentralized network of electricity production between counterparts.
Every building that generates and stores its own solar energy (for example, Tesla Solar Roof Tiles or Tesla Power Walls) is a complete node of this power grid in the near future.
And Bitcoin or another PoW cryptocurrency is an economy of sharing electricity between the nodes of this network as described above. This reminds me of the way some hydroelectric dams store excess electricity by using it to pump water upstream, and let the water fall when they want to convert the water. Potential energy in electricity.
Human civilization is about to produce a tsunami of affordable, clean and renewable energy times. And Elon Musk leads the charge. Bitcoin can help us get the most out of all this electricity without leaving a watt.
So, will Elon Musk go to crypto? It's just a matter of time.
Elon Musk Picture of REUTERS / Aly Song