If you’re a fan of a good, old-school, pinwheeling arms and glasses-and-inhalers-and-fedoras-flying-everywhere nerd fight, then I’d suggest tuning your internet-receiver to the Twitter channel and clicking on the #dontbuytesla hashtag that’s trending. If you’re a healthy, well-adjusted human being with edifying interests, it’s likely you have no idea why this is happening, and, probably healthily, don’t care. But if you are curious, let’s explain what’s making people so mad at Tesla, and how it really doesn’t have all that much to do with their cars. Well, maybe a little.
You may recall that back in late March, Elon Musk tweeted that you could now buy a factory-fresh, brand-new Tesla using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Here’s that tweet:
So, yeah, pretty clear. Subsequent tweets provided more detail, confirming the Bitcoin paid for your car would remain as a cryptocurrency, and not converted to a government-backed fiat currency, such as U.S. dollars, which one could use to buy, say, a Fiat.
Wednesday, though, someone must have finally explained to Elon that Bitcoin isn’t produced from the droppings of the magical bitunicorn, but is actually “mined” via computationally-intensive computer time, and that process is actually extremely energy-intensive, consuming “more energy than Argentina” according to a Cambridge University study.
Of course, this flies in the face of all of Tesla’s pretentious brags about being a very green carmaker.
As a result, Elon tweeted this:
It’s baffling to think that, somehow, Elon Musk, with his big, wet, pulsating brain, wasn’t aware of any of this. I mean, of course he knew about the environmental impact of Bitcoin, it’s just that now, for some reason, something caused him to give a shit.
So, now we have lots of angry Bitcoin people tweeting angrily about Elon:
...and people cancelling (alleged) Tesla orders:
...and the expected crude adaptation of memes:
Of course, Elon is still talking up another cryptocurrency, Dogecoin, which started as a joke back in 2013 but is still an actual, real thing, as much as any cryptocurrency is an actual, real thing:
While Dogecoin mining isn’t nearly as energy intensive as Bitcoin, that’s mostly a matter of scale, and it’s not inherently a different issue.
So what do we take from all of this? Mostly that reality is pretty ridiculous right now, and everything is at least a little stupid, and some billionaires can have an absurd amount of sway over people’s fortunes, and there’s maybe better reasons to not buy a Tesla than this, like their poor driver attention monitoring for their Level 2 semi-automated systems.
Other than that, they’re still generally good EVs, so if you’re using normal people money, feel free to buy one. Or don’t. The important thing is that we get all of the people you’d least like to be stuck at a table with at a friend’s wedding fighting on Twitter.