Elon Musk earned the ire of the poker community this week when a tweet of his started a Bitcoin panic. What started with the word “indeed,” grew into a public statement that Tesla was no longer accepting bitcoins for its cars, a much weirder statement on Dogecoin, and an awkward appearance with his mom on Saturday Night Live.
Ten days ago, BTC was trading at around $58K per coin. Today that same coin is worth about $43.5K. When Bitcoin falls, so does the crypto market as a whole. ETH went from $3,800 to $3,200 in the same ten-day period. LTC went from $347 to $282. DOGE went from $0.685 to $0.478. Most of that drop was in the last 48-hours.
The poker world started concussing itself with facepalm after facepalm while Bitcoin faceplanted. As BTC tanked, it took the whole crypto market along with it.
Doug Polk and Joey Ingram both posted furious responses to Musk’s tweets. Even Haraloubos Voulgaris tried to get sassy.
To the Moon and/or Mars
Vanessa Kade, on the other hand, was less than sympathetic to the investors who lost money in the drop. The Canadian poker-pro tweeted a picture of the graph of Bitcoin tanking with a caption.
“In poker,” she wrote. “We just call this a ‘Sunday.'”
Kade recently joined the millionaire’s club when she won the PokerStars Sunday Million for $1.5 million. So she understands the brutality of variance.
On Sunday, Musk replied to a tweet claiming that Tesla has “dumped its Bitcoin holdings,” by saying one word: “Indeed.”
However, there was some ambiguity as to whether he was confirming the speculation that Tesla was selling. The tweet he replied to ends: “With the amount of hate @elonmusk is getting, I wouldn’t blame him…”
Investors in Bitcoin read the tweet as meaning Tesla was divesting its BTC holdings. Actually, Musk was just flexing about the fact that he could swing the market if he wanted to. He was right. In fact, he swung the market even though he probably didn’t want to.
His tweet hit Tesla’s value too, the day after he posted the tweet, Tesla stock dropped about 10%, although it is now back up to around its May 16 price today.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Musk did try to run some damage control. He confirmed that Tesla has not sold its bitcoins, but that it was no longer accepting them as currency for purchasing their cars.
He followed this up with a tweet chain explaining his problem with cryptocurrencies in general. Which is broadly speaking, the environmental impact of crypto-farming. Big server banks use a lot of juice, and most of the world still relies on coal powerplants to drive their grids. Ergo, crypto helps drive climate change. Not sure the owner of the battery-powered car company really wants to draw attention to how little green electricity is available.
Polk was contemptuous of Musk’s take on crypto.
“I think what is most disappointing about the recent @elonmusk change of heart, is how incredibly unsophisticated and inaccurate his understanding of cryptocurrency is.”
Other Twitter users were less polite. “My latest article is about a reckless fiddle-fingered mega-billionaire and the poker community he tried to put in the poorhouse with a one-word tweet,” wrote David Lappin.
Joey Ingram upped the level of the discourse in his usual manner.
“Please leave bitcoin and go away to your own planet with Hellmuth and the other home game buddies,” Ingram tweeted at Musk.
Polk and co’s impotent rage is aimed at a market that did what markets do. The market went up, and it went down. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
Though if Musk really has the power to tank the entire poker world’s main investment vehicle with a single tweet, perhaps we should all try to be nicer to him.
The man gives off serious Bond-villain vibes. I wouldn’t want to test him on this.
Featured image source: Flickr by NASA Johnson