As bitcoin – and the entire cryptocurrency market – struggles to regain a foothold on value, the spotlight is on Elon Musk and his ego.
The Tesla CEO bet $1.5 billion in company cash on bitcoin and was rewarded handsomely in the short term.
But a fortune.com story surfaced some deep concerns if the crypto sheds more value:
“The special accounting treatment Tesla applies to its Bitcoin holdings will require the manufacturer Tesla to book losses called ‘impairments’ in its second quarter, even though its overall investment is still above water. If (bitcoin) holds at its current level of around $38,000, the hit won’t be enormous. But to offset the write-downs, Tesla would need to sell a big chunk of the coins left in its coffers, a move that could send Bitcoin swooning.”
Tesla investors already have seen roughly 30 percent declines since Tesla’s January high-water mark.
The Fortune story includes industry experts who share the stockholders’ concerns.
“Many investors never wanted Musk to go down the Bitcoin path,” Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said. “The focus should be on its progress in making deliveries, the global EV tidal wave, and getting through the chip shortage. Instead, too much attention’s going to the Bitcoin piece.
“The Bitcoin piece has created a dark cloud over the whole story. And the damage is all self-inflicted.”
Since Musk has indicated he wasn’t planning to sell bitcoin, the assumption is that, according to Fortune, Tesla holds 90 percent of its original purchases, or 42,100 Bitcoin.
In mid-April, bitcoin hit an all-time high of $64,863, but Thursday sat at around $38,900.
Fortune concludes: Tesla may need to sell 10,000 coins, “to get square,” and that “a big loss on Bitcoin could wipe out, or seriously dent, its profits from selling cars and batteries, if any, for the rest of 2021 or even longer.”