The price of bitcoin has dropped sharply after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that his company will no longer accept the cryptocurrency as payment for electric vehicles.
According to cryptocurrency news website Coindesk, Bitcoin was down 12% as of 6:50 a.m. ET on Thursday, bringing the coin’s price down to around $49,300.
Other digital currencies followed bitcoin lower, with ethereum losing 14% and dogecoin shedding nearly 20%.
After months of being bullish on bitcoin, Musk cited its high environmental cost as the reason for the move.
“We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel. Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” Musk said in a note posted on Twitter.
Tesla did not respond immediately to questions about the move, such as how many vehicles were purchased with bitcoin and whether Musk was previously unaware of the environmental impact.
Musk, who has in the past expressed skepticism about cryptocurrencies, said in an interview on social app Clubhouse earlier this year that he thinks bitcoin is on the verge of “getting broad acceptance by conventional finance people.” He said he should have bought the digital currency eight years ago.
On Wednesday, Musk said Tesla still plans to use bitcoin after the currency finds cleaner energy sources.
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