Tesla’s Elon Musk Owns Some Bitcoin?
Over the last two days, several news outlets have been harping on about Musk’s tweet where he admitted to owning a small amount of Bitcoin.
So what? Who cares, right?
If you’ve read the tweet, you know that it’s not such a big deal as some make it out to be. In fact, it’s only 0.25 BTC and he can’t access it anyway, nor does he want to. With news of Steven Seagal’s ICO, Ellen talking about Bitcoin, and everyone reporting what Charlie Munger and his pal Warren Buffet have to say or complain about every 3 days, many Bitcoin users must be tired of this constant need for validation that seems to be plaguing cryptocurrencies – the desire to be recognized, to be mainstream, to be endorsed by celebrities. It’s almost an obsession in some circles, and it regularly makes the news.
The wonderful thing about Bitcoin is, we don’t have to know anything about who owns how many coins, we’re not expected to know anything. And yet, we want to.
Is the fact that Musk owns a small amount of BTC really such big news? For all we know, he could be the mysterious buyer who spent $450 million on Bitcoin two days before Valentine’s Day, or Satoshi Nakamoto himself. In fact, there was a popular conspiracy theory that claimed precisely that not long ago, started by a former SpaceX intern. Although, in a system where anyone can be anonymous, it is not really a conspiracy theory, it is merely a theory – since anyone can choose to keep their identity hidden. If it’s only one person keeping a secret, no conspiracy is needed.
But we’re getting off track here. The real question is: Should we care that Elon Musk owns some Bitcoin and if so, why should we care?
The truth is, although we shouldn’t care, a lot of people do care. A famous tech visionary endorsing any cryptocurrency – that’s a lot of power. In technology, it’s all about folklore, with a lot of mythos involved – and cults of personality run rampant. You have Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gabe Newell, and even Nakamoto and Buterin now. Elon Musk in particular is a person with a lot of influence over the idealistic young people who primarily own BTC. According to a recent study, the majority of BTC owners are males between 18 and 34 years of age. They are precisely the people who are inspired by Musk the most – and people who use Twitter a lot.
Since January, numerous scammers have taken to Twitter, where they pose as tech giants and other influential celebrities and spam people with fake ICOs and promises of large returns to anyone who sends them coins. The impersonators have previously posed as Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse, Litecoin’s Charlie Lee, Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, and now Elon Musk. That’s why this is an issue. As long as we put so much stock in names and celebrities, we are creating fertile ground for all kinds of parasites – even in an industry that is supposed to be a society of equals – of peers.
When it comes to Musk, let’s not forget that Tesla’s cloud fell victim to a cryptojacking attack just a couple of days ago. The hackers used Tesla’s vast resources to mine cryptocurrency. Although the incident didn’t cause permanent damage, it likely made Musk even more skeptical – or maybe it made him take a closer look at cryptocurrencies.
The only question is; do you care either way?