Elon Musk and Bitcoin: A toxic relationship
On July 8, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert hosted an Elon Musk-inspired show in Austin, Texas. Aptly named “F*ck Elon,” the event, which included a large number of Bitcoin (BTC) maximalists, was surely a rowdy affair. Keiser is known for many things, but restraint is not necessarily one of them.
Although we can debate the merits of such a provocatively titled party, Musk’s divisiveness is certainly not up for debate. Earlier this year, the Bitcoin community — including the maximalists — were vocal supporters of Musk. He saw value in Bitcoin and Bitcoin saw value in Musk, one of the most influential people on the planet. In many ways, it was a match made in heaven.
In early May, however, when the 49-year-old announced that Tesla was no longer accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment, Musk’s popularity among the Bitcoin faithful quickly faded. Now, many view him with suspicion; others, like Keiser, view him with disdain, hence the colorfully titled party.
One wonders, what’s the point of a “F*ck Elon” event? After all, we’re told that Musk no longer influences the cryptocurrency market like he once did back in May. The once highly potent master is now an impotent “shill.” Although the authors made valid points, it’s important to remember who Musk is, and, more importantly, what he is capable of doing. Bitcoin is very much in his crosshairs.
Three weeks ago, the Tesla CEO announced that the company plans to accept Bitcoin once clean energy goals are met. In other words, Bitcoin and Musk have unfinished business. Considering that the future of Bitcoin appears to be inextricably linked with clean energy, the future of Bitcoin also appears to be inextricably linked with Musk.
Right now, his influence over Bitcoin appears to be minimal, but there is every reason to think that will change. Form is temporary, class, though, is permanent. And Musk is a first-class manipulator. Dogecoin (DOGE) is a fun coin but it doesn’t appear to have a legitimate future. Bitcoin, on the other hand, appears to have a very bright future. It’s fun to mess around with DOGE, but if you’re serious about cryptocurrencies, you marry Bitcoin.
Is Musk toxic?
By its very definition, a toxic relationship consists of Jekyll and Hyde personalities, where at least one of the partners switches between hot and cold. Now, enter Elon Musk. One day he is bowing down and paying homage to the Chinese Communist Party, the next day he is calling a hero a pedophile on Twitter. Musk is an erratic force. He is the only man who can match Bitcoin’s inherent volatility.
In a toxic relationship, exhaustion is the norm. Musk is an exhausting influence and there is reason to believe that he will continue to exhaust humanity, especially those within the Bitcoin community. Toxic relationships are also synonymous with deceit. A highly intelligent individual, Musk is also prone to exaggerations and false promises. Since 2016, Tesla customers have been billed for the highly publicized self-driving feature that doesn’t really exist.
As Andrew J. Hawkins at The Verge writes, the full self-driving software that Musk promotes “does not enable a Tesla vehicle to drive itself without input from the driver.” In other words, self-driving cars are not capable of self-driving. This is not a good look for Tesla, nor is it a good look for Musk. Whether his deceit is conscious or otherwise, Tesla customers have been taken for an expensive ride. With General Motors and Ford busy learning from Musk’s mistakes and making superior electric vehicles, will Musk’s behavior become more erratic in nature? Don’t bet against it — Bitcoiners beware.
A mercurial entrepreneur, not an inventor
Musk is not an inventor. He is a mercurial entrepreneur, willing to say or do anything to generate interest. Although he is clearly a brilliant man, he lacks restraint. Musk’s word is not his bond. In fact, in Musk’s world, the concept of truth seems to be highly malleable.
In a recent article, Peter Chawaga discussed a sort of post-Elon world, with Bitcoin freeing itself from the entrepreneur’s meddling. Chawaga noted, “No single person, no matter how influential in their own spheres, is more vital than the network.” In the same piece, the aforementioned Stacy Herbert says:
“Elon and other fiat billionaires need to learn that you don’t fix Bitcoin, Bitcoin fixes you.”
Has Bitcoin actually “fixed” Elon? Can Elon actually be “fixed?” Bitcoin might have won this battle, but the war, I argue, is far from over. Of course, it needn’t be a war. In the future, Bitcoin and Musk may very well enjoy a harmonious relationship. However, considering Musk is one of the most erratic celebrities on the planet, the relationship will probably become more toxic in nature. Screaming “F*ck Elon” might be cathartic, but it won’t be effective. Remember who you are dealing with: A highly influential billionaire with a “F*ck You” personality.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and cultural commentator. His work has been published by the likes of Bitcoin Magazine, The New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald and National Review.