Tesla now taking bitcoin as payment for cars, Elon Musk says

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Anyone buying a car from Tesla in the US can now pay for it with bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday.

Musk broke the news on Twitter about six weeks after his electric-vehicle giant announced plans to start taking payments in the world’s biggest cryptocurrency.

Tesla’s website now offers the option to use bitcoin to put down the $100 order fee for a new car. The company has also published a set of terms and conditions for bitcoin payments, which warn customers about the digital currency’s trademark volatility.

In a series of early-morning tweets, Musk said Tesla plans to make bitcoin payments available outside the US later this year. The Silicon Valley stalwart will also retain bitcoin payments as cryptocurrency rather than convert them to cash, he said.

“Tesla is using only internal & open source software & operates Bitcoin nodes directly,” Musk tweeted.

The announcement from Tesla’s “Technoking” solidified the leading electric-car maker’s embrace of cryptocurrency following its February announcement that it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin.

Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives expects bitcoin to account for less than 5 percent of Tesla’s transactions over the next 12 to 18 months, though that rate could rise as cryptocurrency becomes more widely accepted in the coming years.

“This morning’s news formalizes the strategy of Musk and Tesla diving into the deep end of the pool of bitcoin and crypto from a transactional perspective,” Ives said in a Wednesday research note.

The price of bitcoin jumped about 4.3 percent from a day earlier to $56,511.33 as of 7:58 a.m. following Tesla’s announcement, according to CoinDesk. Shares of Tesla, meanwhile, rose about 1 percent to $668.64.

While Tesla’s decision was a win for crypto fans, customers might want to be cautious if they use bitcoin to buy one of the company’s pricey cars.

Tesla’s new terms and conditions warn buyers that they are responsible for entering the correct bitcoin address and amount in the digital wallet software they use to submit the payment.

Customers who send more bitcoin than the quoted purchase price won’t be entitled to a reimbursement for the extra amount, the terms say.

Tesla also reserves the right to issue refunds for crypto purchases either in bitcoin or US dollars. Because bitcoin’s price changes by the minute, the value of a bitcoin refund relative to US dollars “might be significantly less” than at the time of the original purchase, according to the terms.

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