Tesla can now be bought for bitcoin, Elon Musk says

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest digital currency, rose morethan 4% after Mr. Musk’s tweet and was last trading at $56,429.

Tesla Inc. customers can nowbuy its electric vehicles with, its boss, Elon Musk, said on Wednesday, marking a significant step forward for thecryptocurrency’s use in commerce.

"You can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin," Mr. Musk said onTwitter, adding that the option would be available outside the United States later this year.

The electric-car maker said last month it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars, in a large stride toward mainstream acceptancethat sent bitcoin soaring to a record high of nearly $62,000.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest digital currency, rose morethan 4% after Mr. Musk’s tweet and was last trading at $56,429.

Mr. Musk said bitcoin paid to Tesla would not be converted intotraditional currency, but he gave few other details on how thebitcoin payments would be processed. The company was using "internal & open source software", he said.

Most mainstream companies such as AT&T Inc. and Microsoft Corp. that allow customers to pay with bitcoin typically use specialist payment processors that convert the cryptocurrency into, say, dollars and send the sum to thecompany.

Like other crypto currencies, bitcoin is still little usedfor commerce in major economies, hampered by its volatility andrelatively costly and slow processing times.

Mr. Musk, who regularly posts comments on Twitter about crypto currencies, last month criticised conventional cash,saying when it "has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere".

He had said that the difference with cash made it"adventurous enough" for the S&P 500 company to hold the crypto currency.

Following Tesla’s investment in bitcoin, companies including Mastercard Inc. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. have embraced the emerging asset, sparking predictions that bitcoin and other crypto currencies will become a regular part ofinvestment portfolios.

Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the ride-hailingcompany discussed and "quickly dismissed" the idea of investingin bitcoin. However, he said Uber could potentially accept the crypto currency as payment.

General Motors Co. said it would evaluate whetherbitcoin could be accepted as payment for its vehicles.

Tesla recently added "Technoking of Tesla" to Musk’s list ofofficial titles.

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