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Bitcoin shot to a record high, clearing $43,000 after Tesla reported in an SEC filing that it has bought $1.5bn worth of the cryptocurrency and said it would begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment in the future. This is the kind of backing that can take Bitcoin through $50k.

Once again it highlights the power that Elon Musk has in shaping price action and moving markets. He’s now putting his money (shareholders’) where his mouth is. But given his recent comments – and adding #Bitcoin to his Twitter bio on January 29th – it also raises a real question about possible market manipulation.

Musk’s tweeting record is chequered to say the least (‘funding secured’) and he has had his knuckles rapped by the SEC in the past. The filing simply says that the investment policy was updated in January 2021 and ‘thereafter’ the company invested an aggregate $1.5bn in Bitcoin. Timing would appear critical.

Will the move cause some fund managers to sell Tesla stock?

Tesla also says it may acquire and hold other digital assets. The move will also raise questions for fund managers who may not want to invest in a company with this kind of risk on its balance sheet – we know Bitcoin is very volatile – this is normal FX risk x100. Tesla is now starting to take on big FX risk – this may not worry a lot of investors, but some conservative types might be concerned.

“Rumours have clearly been doing the rounds that Musk was in Bitcoin,” observed Neil Wilson, Chief Markets Analyst at Markets.com. “After the Twitter update on Jan 29th, I noted that the move was cheered by the Bitcoin bulls and it indicated support for the crypto in some form, but it was not clear at that stage if he and/or Tesla was buying in size. Now we know not only is Musk on side, but Tesla is backing on a corporate level – the strategy was approved by the Board and Audit Committee.

This comes after moves by PayPal and Square, as well as MicroStrategy, which have pointed to rising corporate support for Bitcoin. Last year PayPal sparked a big rally in Bitcoin after it said it would allow users to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies on its platform.

Before this, Square added $50m in Bitcoin – some 4,709 coins – to its balance sheet, whilst Microstrategy, a Nasdaq-listed business intelligence company, acquired 21,454 Bitcoins as part of its “capital allocation strategy”.

Tesla’s move is the kind of big corporate support that bulls are latching on to. More corporate support = more mainstreaming.

“If there were any doubters as to the mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin, this surely must mark the end of any scepticism,” said Simon Peters, cryptoanalyst at CFD broker eToro. “Multiple other brands are already accepting bitcoin as payment, and we would imagine that, in time, other major companies will follow Tesla’s example. The world is moving online more and more and Bitcoin sits at the heart of online transactions, and with this kind of endorsement from a multi-billion dollar company, it’s likely the price will hit $50,000 by the end of the week.

Bitcoin was trading at $43,595 at time of writing. The Tesla share price (NASDAQ:TSLA) was at $852.23, up 2.6% in the US pre-market.


Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent 25 years in journalism and marketing, including as a wealth management editor for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong. He was the founder editor of The Hedge Fund Journal.

Stuart has worked at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Based in The Armchair Trader’s London office, Stuart continues to advise fund managers, private banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

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