Customers interested in buying a Tesla can now buy the electric vehicle with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, the companies’ CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday.
“Tesla is using only internal & open source software & operates Bitcoin nodes directly,” he added. “Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as Bitcoin, not converted to fiat currency.”
Bitcoin is a form of currency that operates on a decentralized network comprised of nodes that authenticate transactions. The cryptocurrency has gradually gained more and more attention, but is still primarily seen as an investment, not as a method of payment. Like stocks, people can buy bitcoins by the whole, or fractions of a single bitcoin.
Tesla is using only internal & open source software & operates Bitcoin nodes directly.
Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as Bitcoin, not converted to fiat currency.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2021
People residing outside of the United States aren’t eligible to buy a Tesla with Bitcoin yet, but will be able to “later this year,” Musk said, without specifying which countries are into this category.
“Pay by Bitcoin capability available outside U.S. later this year,” he wrote.
More details on the process of buying a Tesla with the digital currency, as well as a list of frequently asked questions, can be found on the website of the car dealership.
Bitcoin’s value rose more than 4 percent on March 24 after Musk’s announcement and is currently standing at over $56,000, which is more than the starting price of some Tesla models. The company’s electric vehicles typically range in cost between $35,000 and $124,000 before tax incentives for electric cars.
Like other cryptocurrencies, bitcoin is still little used for commerce in major economies, hampered by its volatility and relatively costly and slow processing times.
Following Tesla’s investment in bitcoin, companies including Mastercard Inc and Bank of New York Mellon Corp have embraced the emerging asset, sparking predictions that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will become a regular part of investment portfolios.
Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the ride-hailing company discussed and “quickly dismissed” the idea of investing in bitcoin. However, he said Uber could potentially accept the cryptocurrency as payment.
General Motors Co said it would evaluate whether bitcoin could be accepted as payment for its vehicles.
Reuters contributed to this report.