After a long and enigmatic series of tweets about Bitcoin (BTC), the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, revealed his stance on cryptocurrencies in a podcast on January 20. Noting that he “is neither here nor there in Bitcoin,” Musk focused on his use for illegal transactions.
The billionaire has recently been in the spotlight for several short and enigmatic tweets related to cryptocurrencies. On January 10 he published a tweet that said: “Bitcoin * no * is my safe word”.
This comes after an equally enigmatic tweet from April 2019, which says “Cryptocurrency is my safe word.”
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But although they were generally considered jokes, especially in light of previous tweets in which he promised to take “Tesla private at USD 420,” Musk’s previous history is deeply linked to the financial technology industry.
In 1999, Elon Musk founded X.com, an online bank that through subsequent mergers became PayPal. He mentioned the company in the podcast and noted:
“If PayPal had executed the plan I wanted to execute, I think it would probably be the most valuable company in the world.”
Then, the interviewers asked what Musk thought about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, given his spiritual similarity with X.com. Musk replied that he “is neither here nor there regarding Bitcoin.”
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While referring to Satoshi’s white paper as “quite intelligent,” he said his stance on cryptocurrencies “enrages crypto person.”
“There are transactions that are not within the limits of the law, obviously there are many laws in different countries, and cash is usually used for these transactions. But for illegal transactions to occur, cash must also be used for legal transactions. You need an illegal to the legal bridge. That’s where cryptocurrencies come in. ”
Musk said that cash is increasingly difficult to use, but any alternative would have to be usable for both legal and illegal purposes, since “it doesn’t count otherwise.”
Although he may not be completely convinced about cryptocurrencies, Musk sees a clear purpose for them:
“You must have a legal bridge to illegal. So, where I see cryptocurrencies is that, indeed, they are like a replacement for cash. I don’t see that cryptocurrencies are the main database [for transactions]. “
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Despite the negative connotation of being used for illegal purposes, he stressed that he is not “judging cryptocurrencies.” In Musk’s opinion, governments overreach in certain aspects:
“I think there are many illegal things that should not be. I sometimes think governments simply have too many laws about the missions they should have, and they shouldn’t have so many illegal things. “
While not a full backup, Musk is not exactly the opposite of cryptocurrencies. In an earlier part of the interview, he said that “banks are in trouble”, although he mainly referred to competitors like Stripe.