Tesla announced Monday it has bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it bought the bitcoin for “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.”
Tesla’s move into bitcoin represents an investment of a significant percentage of its cash in the investment. The company had more than $19 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand at the end of 2020, according to its most recent filing.
The announcements, buried deep in Tesla’s 2020 annual report, drove a roughly 20% surge in the world’s most widely held cryptocurrency to over $47,000. At current prices, 0.8 bitcoins would be enough to buy an entry-level Tesla Model 3.
Investors anticipated other companies will soon join a list of firms that invest in or hold bitcoin including BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, and payments companies Square and PayPal.
A well-known supporter of cryptocurrencies, Musk has weighed in regularly on the past month’s frenzy in retail investment, also driving up prices of the meme-based digital currency dogecoin and shares of U.S. video game chain GameStop.
Experts said they would not be surprised by a closer look from regulators given Musk’s bumpy past with watchdogs.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sparred with Musk and Tesla several times over his use of Twitter to discuss the company, ultimately resulting in his exit as company chairman and a pair of $20 million fines for Musk and Tesla.