TheThe announcement of this investment had the effect of a thunderclap, causing the price of bitcoin to soar, which reached $ 44,768.36 at 13:25 GMT, a record. In theory, therefore, only one bitcoin is enough to buy Tesla’s Model Y car, the new 4.75m electric SUV sold in the United States at the base price of $ 41,990 without tax credit and whose marketing in France is scheduled for 2021. This initiative is not, however, a surprise for “Followers” Elon Musk, the boss of the electric vehicle manufacturer renowned for his iconoclastic positions and for having long praised cryptocurrencies. At the end of January, he temporarily changed his mini-description on Twitter to simply enter #bitcoin, which then temporarily jumped its price by around 20%. The richest man in the world, on paper, also regularly mentions Dogecoin, an obscure virtual currency, on his account, each time causing its value to soar.

Another dimension

But the decision to invest $ 1.5 billion in bitcoin in a document addressed to the gendarme of the American Stock Exchange, the SEC, concerns another dimension since it was validated by the board of directors of Tesla, which is worth over $ 800 billion on Wall Street. The group explains that it recently changed its investment policy in order to diversify its sources of liquidity. In this context, the board of directors authorized the company to invest in various financial assets, including bitcoin. Tesla also plans to “start accepting bitcoin as a means of payment when purchasing its products in the near future.”

Sulphurous reputation

Bitcoin nevertheless retains a sulphurous reputation. While some speculators do not hesitate to bet on its fluctuations in the markets and various online platforms, no major central bank recognizes bitcoin as a currency in its own right. Created by anonymous people and managed by a decentralized network, virtual currency is particularly volatile. This instability and the anonymity it provides to its users are not well received by the authorities, who call for stricter regulation. Janet Yellen, Joe Biden’s new treasury secretary, recently warned that cryptocurrencies were “mainly used” for financing illicit activities and that the government had to ensure that they did not become a means of laundering money. ‘dirty money.

More and more easy to access

Tesla’s decision could move the lines. “That Elon Musk was a fan of cryptocurrency was known. That Tesla invests on a large scale transports investors to the 7e sky ”, estimates Timo Emden, independent analyst based in Germany and specializing in cryptocurrencies. The means to buy bitcoins, whole or in parts, have multiplied in recent years. In October, online payments giant PayPal launched a cryptocurrency buying, selling and payment service, while Square, a company specializing in mobile payments, announced that it had invested $ 50 million in bitcoin. BlackRock, which manages trillions of dollars on behalf of funds administering the pensions of civil servants and companies or rich fortunes, also brought its legitimacy by adding at the end of January the virtual currency to the list of financial products in which it could invest.

Market manipulation?

The question now is whether other big companies will emulate Tesla. The automaker’s decision shines the spotlight on Elon Musk’s power in the markets: Every time he mentions a company or virtual currency on his Twitter account, its value temporarily takes off. It could also come under close scrutiny by the Markets Constable, with whom Elon Musk has fallen out in the past. “Considering his recent comments, and the fact that he added #Bitcoin to his Twitter bio on January 29, this also raises the question of possible market manipulation,” says Neil Wilson. For this expert from CMC Markets, for example, it would be interesting to know if Tesla invested $ 1.5 billion before or after this mention. Elon Musk got slapped on his fingers by the SEC, which forced him to step down as chairman of Tesla’s board after a tweet in 2018 mentioning a possible withdrawal from the group’s stock market as he was not financially strong enough for such an operation.