Tesla, the electric car company run by the world’s richest person, Elon Musk, revealed on Monday that it had bought $1.5bn (£1.1bn) in bitcoin and said it may soon accept payment in the popular but controversial cryptocurrency.
The company disclosed the bitcoin holding in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday. Tesla said that it had “updated our investment policy to provide us with more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns” to allow it to invest cash reserve in “alternative reserve assets including digital assets”.
It said that since the decision was approved by its audit committee it had “invested an aggregate $1.50bn in bitcoin under this policy and may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term”.
“Moreover, we expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt,” the company added.
The price of bitcoin jumped to a new high of more than $44,000 per coin following the news.
Musk has helped to drive the popularity of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and dogecoin, by regularly tweeting that he is a “supporter” of the cryptocurrencies.
Earlier this month the price of bitcoin soared after Musk said that he was a “supporter” of the cryptocurrency in an interview carried on Clubhouse, a new social media app designed for wealthy people.
He has previously changed his Twitter biography to “#bitcoin”.
The price of dogecoin also rose after Musk tweeted about it. Dogecoin’s price rose by 50% on 4 February shortly after he tweeted that “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto”.