Tesla (TSLA -6.42%) revealed in a regulatory filing last week that it had invested $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC 0.95%) and "may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term." The company went even further, suggesting that it expects to begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for its products in the near future. Given Elon Musk's visionary history, is this the beginning of a new era for cryptocurrency?
On this clip from Motley Fool Live, recorded on Feb. 8, "The Wrap" host Jason Hall, Fool analyst Auri Hughes, and Fool.com contributor Danny Vena discuss the move and whether there will be much more Bitcoin in Tesla's coffers by year end.
Jason Hall: Tesla's "hodling" now, right? H-O-D-L [slang for holding cryptocurrency], get that Bitcoin (BTC 0.95%), $1.5 billion on the books according to an SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] filing. Guys let's play over under on this. I'm going to get you to go first here, Danny. Over under on Tesla holding $5 billion in Bitcoin at the end of 2021.
Danny Vena: There's two different ways that we could go with this. The first is, the way that the price of Bitcoin has been rocketing up lately, that $1.5 billion might be worth $5 billion by the end of 2021, and the other way we could go with it is that Elon [Musk] decides to invest more money into Bitcoin.
I would say on either one of those, as much as I hate to do this, I'm going to go with over. I don't think the Bitcoin mania that we have been seeing for the last several years is over. Just to disclose, I don't own any Bitcoin, I don't believe in Bitcoin. I think that there will eventually be a digital payment method, a crypto payment method. I don't know what it will end up being. But investing in cryptocurrency or specifically Bitcoin as an investment is folly. There are no underlying assets and people argue with me about this, particularly on Twitter (TWTR 2.68%). [laughs] But yeah, I am afraid the truth is that when we get to the end of the year, yes, I think one way or the other, Tesla will have more than $5 billion in Bitcoin.
Jason Hall: Auri, what do you think?
Auri Hughes: I am going with over and I'm similar to Danny. I traditionally started with the value investing background. We want assets that generate cash and that way we can value them and understand them.
All makes sense but I think there's a lot of smart money, or ideally smart money of these like endowments and things that have been revealed that they're buying into Bitcoin over the last few months and years. This is supposedly the smartest money in the world and I think Elon Musk, despite whatever you may think of him, he's had a solid track record. I think he's probably surrounded by smart people at least who can advise or know what's going on.
I'm not saying, put your life savings in this, but this is an asset I think we definitely want to understand. We're going to see a lot of the big companies are getting exposure to Bitcoin somehow or allowing it for payment. I think we want to be smart about this. I'm going over. I think he's going to want more exposure going forward.
Jason Hall: I think it's going to be not just increase, I think it's not going to be just more than worth $5 billion, I think they're going to own more Bitcoin. The value and the quantity of Bitcoin are both going to go up. The next step, and I guess they've kind of hinted at it, is a great way to sell a lot of Model S's and Model X's, take Bitcoin. There's a lot of people that have made a lot of money on Bitcoin, they will use it to buy a Tesla. Just like that [snaps fingers].
Auri Hughes: Both those are kind of innovative brands, if you will, and I see them going hand in hand. That makes a lot of sense.
Jason Hall: I know people that have done very well on their Tesla investments that have used Tesla's incredible run up to buy Tesla. Here we are. Welcome to this world.