It is official. Tesla just invested/bought (it is hard to tell the difference today) USD$1.5B in Bitcoin and plans to accept it as payment. Just a few days ago, CEO Elon Musk tweeted positive messages around digital currency especially for Bitcoin and Dogecoin. While the intention of his Dogecoin tweet is still unclear, his tweet has send Dogecoin’s prices through the roof/moon/mars (it is hard to keep up with the terms anymore).
Disclaimer: No vested interest in Bitcoin/Dogecoin/Tesla.
In this article, I will attempt to explain what good and what not good will happen from this move and potential series of events that might unfold. If you are new to Tesla and Bitcoin, I would encourage you to read about my previous Bitcoin article: Is it too late to invest in Bitcoin?
Tesla’s Current Brilliant Capital Moves
One thing for sure. Elon Musk sure knows how to raise capital or get his hands on money. Previously, Tesla raised USD$5 billion from stock offering. The question had that time was do they really need the cash? It turns out that his timing was excellent. By selling shares at an expensive price, Tesla’s existing shareholder was not affected much by dilution. Effectively, he is raising capital from the equity market and still “protecting” his existing shareholder. I feel that it was a wonderful move.
Secondly, Tesla’s income comes from selling regulatory zero emission credits to other carmakers. Tesla would have noted a net loss for 2020 if it had not relied on this USD$1.6billion sale. To help build a sustainable economy, carmakers have to manage their pollution levels and have to buy green credits or face hefty fines or have their business licenses revoked. Selling of the zero emission credits is probably a 100% profit margin (there is no COGS). I feel this is pretty smart too as Tesla is selling something that is technically “free”. This will impact them once the other carmakers are more serious about their carbon emission.
Tesla Next Capital Move: Bitcoin
As of 27 Jan 2021 Motley Fool’s article, Tesla ended the year with a cash war chest of USD$19.4B. This already includes the $10B raised through stocks offering in 2020. With the purchase of USD$1.5B worth of Bitcoin, around 7% of the Balance Sheet (cash and equivalent) has been converted into Bitcoin. When you are investing in Tesla, you are now “investing” in Bitcoin.
Of course, Bitcoin surge > 20% to reach a new highs of USD$44,000.
In a official filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it bought the bitcoin for “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.” With the limited use of Bitcoin at the moment, I believe Bitcoin is another investment vehicle for Tesla. In this, I feel that Tesla would be able to “sell” Bitcoin when the time is right to edge up their quarterly results. However, this could impact them if Bitcoin prices fluctuate much.
Tesla and Bitcoin: The New Economy
You might be wondering why I named the article “The New Economy” by now. I would like to present a thesis of what potentially can happen and the likely impacts of it.
- An Alternative Investment / Store of Value
This is the one that I like the most. Although it is known that Warren Buffett does not invest directly into Gold, he is invested into Barrick Gold, an Gold Mining company. Gold by itself doesn’t not have any utility. Barrick Gold offers a balance sheet, income sheet etc. Most people believe that it is hedge against the USD.
Similarly, what Elon Musk might be trying to do is to hedge against the USD. Think about it, 20% of all USD are printed in 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis. The value of USD might be compromised and this is where it gets exciting.
If the crisis isn’t managed well and the value of USD continues to crumble, Bitcoin might then be a good store of value. Bitcoin will then become the new worldwide accepted currency. Hence, the new economy.
- Increase adoption of Bitcoin
In my previous article about Bitcoin, I questioned about the “lack of adoption” of bitcoin. There seemed to be a HODL attitude on diamond hands. As Tesla cars gets traction in the world, they could really start to accept Bitcoin for their goods or service all over the world. As the velocity of Bitcoin transaction circulates more and more around the world, people will eventually have to use Bitcoin in their everyday transaction. It will give birth to a new worldwide accepted currency.
The question remains if people would actually want to use Bitcoin for transactions with the increasing Bitcoin prices.
Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo
Elon Musk decisions usually leave people feeling awe or just confused. Certainty, he already has raving fan base to help him push prices to wherever he wants it to be via a tweet. I can only say he is a good marketer, a great business man and definitely an excellent story teller.
Till next time!
Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.
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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.