Electric automaker Tesla said that it has invested around $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and it plans to begin accepting the digital currency as payment for its high-end vehicles soon. The price of Bitcoin soared 20% to around $47,000 Monday in reaction to Tesla’s announcement, according to CoinBase.
The California-based electric car maker headed by Elon Musk revealed the new strategy in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, saying its investment in digital currency and other “alternative reserve assets” may grow.
Bitcoin has drawn enthusiasts for its scarcity and security, but the volatile digital currency still is not widely used to pay for goods and services. It’s mostly been a store of value, like gold, with some limited merchants like Overstock accepting bitcoin for payment. It’s also used by those distrustful of the banking system or criminals seeking to launder money.
Whether other major companies will follow Tesla’s lead in investing in Bitcoin or accepting it for transactions is unclear. A vehicle is a large purchase, which could make Bitcoin a better fit to pay for it, but the wild price swings in Bitcoin could be a significant risk to any merchant who decided to accept it.
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