Elon Musk’s activities on Crypto: Is he facing a SEC charge?

Even before electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla announced it would be tossing its hat into the crypto space with the purchase of $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin, its CEO was known by many for his seeming enthusiasm over cryptocurrency. Elon Musk has made many controversial statements on Bitcoin, the meme-based cryptocurrency Dogecoin, and other tokens. 

As one of the richest people in the world — Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have been trading positions for the #1 spot — the billionaire is currently the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX in addition to an avid social media user. He has roughly 50 million Twitter followers and is worth between $150 billion and $200 billion.

Is Elon facing a SEC charge?

To understand Musk’s influence in the business world, one must simply look at one of his tweets from August 2018. The CEO said that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share, and that he had secured the funding to do so.

Unfortunately for Musk, making a public statement like that caught the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. The regulatory body claimed the single tweet caused “harm to Tesla’s shareholders” and investigated whether the CEO had in fact secured the funding. 

Ultimately, Musk agreed to a $20 million penalty from the SEC — with a separate $20 million fine imposed on Tesla — and to step down as the chairman of Tesla’s board. He will be eligible to be re-elected in September 2021. 

History may be repeating itself. The SEC has not released a statement regarding investigating Musk for his recent tweets on Dogecoin, but many in the crypto space have noticed the billionaire seems to have pumped the price of the token using social media in much the same way he did Tesla’s stock in 2018. 

At this time, Musk is not officially under investigation from the SEC, but it is not unreasonable to think the regulatory body may at least be paying attention to his Twitter account. The Tesla CEO seemed to welcome its involvement based on his response to a tweet at the time.

Elon Musk’s influence on crypto: DOGE, Bitcoin, Twitter and More

For most of 2020, Musk was largely silent on cryptocurrency, tweeting one meme in July about the “Dogecoin standard” inevitably taking over the global financial system. That year, the price of Dogecoin was a fraction of a cent, with the token having a then all-time high of roughly $0.0018 in January 2018.

However, that all changed in December when Musk posted multiple tweets about Bitcoin and DOGE to his 43 million followers, from “one word: Doge” and saying “Bitcoin is my safe word.” The price of DOGE subsequently rose to $0.01 as Musk changed his Twitter bio to read “former CEO of Dogecoin.”

Elon Musk Tweet On the actual moon

While Musk was continuing to promote DOGE on social media using memes and one liners, the financial world was in chaos over retail investors from Reddit squeezing major hedge funds that shorted GameStop stock. At the time, DOGE was one of the targets for Redditors looking to pump other assets in what may have been a repeat of the events surrounding the GameStop trades. 

Whether a result of Musk’s involvement or otherwise, the price of DOGE reached an all-time high of $0.08 on Feb. 7.

Elon’s changed his Twitter bio to #Bitcoin

On Jan. 29, 2021, Musk — the richest person in the world at the time — updated his Twitter bio to include the word “Bitcoin.” This was followed by Musk seemingly implying in a tweet his endorsement of the cryptocurrency was “inevitable.”

The same day, the price of Bitcoin surged from the $32,000s to more than $37,000 within 24 hours. The coin would later reach an all-time high price of more than $57,000 on Feb. 20.

Elon Musk and DOGE, the MEME Coin

Even knowing the impact his tweets may have on the price of certain tokens — or perhaps in spite of this — Musk continues to compose messages on the social media platform. As SpaceX tests launch vehicles for possible missions, Musk has implied on Twitter that DOGE will be the first cryptocurrency to “literally” reach the moon. 

His apparent enthusiasm for the token isn’t limited to his own investments. In February, Musk claimed he had purchased some DOGE for his son, referring to him as a “toddler HODLer.” The boy, not even one year old at the time, is named X Æ A-Xii.

Tesla acquired $1.5 billion worth of BTC

As seemingly effective as Musk’s tweets are in influencing the price of certain cryptocurrencies, arguably his biggest impact on the crypto space came from his professional position as the CEO of Tesla. On Feb. 8, the electric car manufacturer announced it had purchased $1.5 billion in Bitcoin. 

The announcement of a major publicly traded company like Tesla investing in crypto likely contributed to the BTC price surging more than $3,000 within minutes of the announcement. Less than two weeks later, the price of Bitcoin would reach $57,000.

Is Tesla about to accept BTC as a payment method?

In the same SEC filing announcing its Bitcoin purchase, Tesla said it would consider “accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment” for its products in the near future. Though the company has made no further information available on using crypto to pay for Tesla products, Musk’s seemingly increasing acceptance of the technology could be a positive sign. 

Summary

Elon Musk has come a long way since 2019, when he claimed the entirety of his crypto holdings were 0.25 BTC. As both prominent figure in the crypto space for his role in Tesla’s Bitcoin purchase and personally as a BTC and DOGE HODLer, the billionaire may continue to influence the industry in the years to come.