Bitcoin plunge sparks backlash at Elon Musk: ‘It benefits society’

Elon Musk announces suspension of Bitcoin Tesla purchases

The price of Bitcoin (BTC) plunged after Mr Musk tweeted that Tesla would U-turn on its decision to allow the cryptocurrency to be used to purchase its vehicles. The CEO of the electric car maker cited concerns over the "rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions” as the reason for suspending the payment method. The price continued to drop over the weekend, hitting a low of $42,708 (£30,298) this morning.

Mr Cuban, the owner of NBA team Dallas Mavericks, sent a message to Mr Musk on Twitter.

He said: "We at will continue to accept BTC/ETH/DOGE because we know that replacing gold as a store of value will help the environment."

In his message, Mr Cuban cited an article by The New York Times published in 2005 that exposed the apparent impacts of the gold mining industry based on the publication’s months-long examination, including tours of gold mines in the American West, Latin America, Africa, and Europe.

A section reads: “Some metal mines, including gold mines, have become the near-equivalent of nuclear waste dumps that must be tended in perpetuity.

Elon Musk came under fire for his decision with Bitcoin

Elon Musk came under fire for his decision with Bitcoin (Image: GETTY)

Mr Musk announced Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin

Mr Musk announced Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin (Image: GETTY)

"Hard-rock mining generates more toxic waste than any other industry in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

"The agency estimated last year that the cost of cleaning up metal mines could reach $54billion (£38billion).”

Another article Mr Cuban referred to was published by Moneyweek in January, entitled “Bitcoin does consume a lot of energy – but here’s why it’s worth it”.

The piece notes that half of the global Bitcoin mining takes place in Sichuan, China, because of hydroelectricity – a renewable energy source.

It states: “Roughly five percent of Sichuan Bitcoin mining power comes from nuclear or burning coal. 95 percent is from renewables."

READ MORE: Elon Musk slammed for 'Doge-for-Tesla' tease: ‘Beginning of end for Bitcoin’

The price of the cryptocurrency has plunged

The price of the cryptocurrency has plunged (Image: GETTY)

In his message, Mr Cuban added that "shrinking big bank and coin usage will benefit society and the environment”.

The computing power required to support Bitcoin's underlying network now requires nearly as much energy as the entire country of Argentina, leading to criticism about its environmental footprint.

Analysis by the University of Cambridge suggests the Bitcoin network uses more than 121 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, which would rank it in the top 30 electricity consumers worldwide if it were a country.

The energy demands have been fuelled by the surging price of Bitcoin in recent months.

Fortunately, there are solutions being put in place, with some eco-friendly mining facilities already operating at a massive scale, and some are using Mr Cuban's argument that it could still be better than gold mining.

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Mining is said to have a large impact on the environment

Mining is said to have a large impact on the environment (Image: GETTY)

Despite this, as Mr Musk pointed out, there are several other tokens that have been tipped to be more environmentally friendly.

It comes after Mr Cuban explained why he "admired" Mr Musk.

He said in January 2020: "I like Elon.

"He can be full of himself sometimes, but he is the only entrepreneur in my lifetime that truly takes on projects that most people would be afraid to even try, and [he] makes them work."

He elaborated a few months later, adding: “You know, people respect him for his genius, but you have to really respect him because he puts every cent that he has on the line.

"Anything that negatively impacts Tesla, Elon hates, period, end of story.

There are several other coins available

There are several other coins available (Image: GETTY)

“I don’t think he has other people’s interests at heart. I mean, I don’t really know him at all, but that’s just my take.”

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has previously warned investors of the risks that come with investing in cryptocurrency.

They said: “If consumers invest, they should be prepared to lose all their money.

"Some investments advertising high returns from crypto assets may not be subject to regulation beyond anti-money laundering.

“Significant price volatility, combined with the difficulties valuing [Bitcoin] reliably, place consumers at a high risk of losses.” does not give financial advice. The journalists who worked on this article do not own Dogecoin or Bitcoin.

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