Elon Musk is many things to many people. For those in the financial industry, he rose to fame as one of the founders of PayPal. He is the “Imperator of Mars” to others, a title he gave himself, likely for his role as the founder of SpaceX. For most, he is ‘the man who made electric vehicles cool’ as the CEO of Tesla. For those in the cryptocurrency industry, he is something else entirely.
Elon Musk and Crypto
Musk may have become a central figure in cryptocurrency over the past year, but he has been a crypto fan for many years. Being a person who has always been fascinated with next generation technology, crypto was a natural fit for him. Bitcoin was his first love – as it is with most people when they first get into crypto.
However, in time, his interest would expand to other cryptocurrencies, most notably Dogecoin, a meme coin that has shot up to become one of the world’s most valuable assets. Musk’s role in the industry has also changed over the years and he now moves the entire market through a mere one-word tweet. Many still revere him as one of our generation’s foremost innovators, but a growing group of crypto fans now believe that it’s time we moved past the Technoking of Tesla.
Musk and Doge – The Love Story
Musk and Dogecoin are inseparable. The world’s second-richest man took an interest in Doge more than three years ago. Back then, Doge was still seen as a fun coin that very few considered a genuine investment.
On 1st April 2019, Dogecoin even posted a poll on Twitter asking the community to vote for the one person who should become its CEO. The candidates were Elon Musk, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, Litecoin founder Charlie Lee and Marshall Hayner, one of the people who contributed significantly to Dogecoin. Musk emerged victorious with 54.4% of the votes and was crowned the Doge CEO, an honorary title as the project is decentralized.
“Dogecoin might be my fav cryptocurrency. It’s pretty cool,” he tweeted in response.
Since then, he has used his social media influence to drum up support for the meme crypto. The Tesla CEO has even dubbed himself the ‘Dogefather’.
Dogecoin has, in turn, shot up the ranks to at one time become the fourth-most valuable digital currency. It currently ranks in the top ten cryptos, just below Cardano, despite being a meme coin that was created to poke fun at the rise in cryptocurrency demand.
As a result, the Doge community adores Musk. Not only has the Tesla CEO promoted the crypto, he has also used his resources to foster its development. Doge developers have revealed that Musk has been working with them to make the crypto more energy efficient for the past two years. He even offered to fund the crypto’s development, but the team turned down the funding, and instead chose to tap his expertise and industry connections.
Not Everyone is Amused by the Technoking of Tesla
While Musk’s influence with Doge has been mostly positive, with Bitcoin it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
For several months, his tweets and even his Twitter bio change would send the crypto soaring. In turn, Musk was unrelenting, tweeting positive sentiments about Bitcoin every other day.
His biggest move yet was when his electric vehicle company bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin “for more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.” Tesla would also accept Bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles. This sent Bitcoin soaring as many pointed out that the age of institutional adoption was finally here.
However, Musk would later drop Bitcoin as a payment method, citing the crypto’s high energy usage. Bitcoin’s price immediately dipped, losing $300 billion immediately, and it has still yet to recover.
This has attracted criticism from market leaders who believe that Musk’s influence on the market is getting to a dangerous level.
Danyaal Rashid, an analyst at London-based consulting firm GlobalData observed, “Musk’s flip-flopping makes for good entertainment and a great bit of news, but its consequences are much more real.”
He added, “Whatever Elon’s view on crypto, it is clear that, at present, he has too much influence over prices. One centralised figure exercising so much control completely contrives the idea of ‘decentralised finance’. This is negative for price stability and will likely hinder adoption of cryptocurrencies.”
Nigel Green, the deVere Group CEO went further to accuse Musk of just doing it all to seem contrarian. “He likes to go against the crowd in a high-profile way. Is his waning interest in Bitcoin at a time when huge amounts of institutional investment from major Wall Street banks are pouring in, part of this?”
Even the Doge Community is Concerned
It’s not just the Bitcoin community that’s getting concerned with Musk’s massive influence over the market. Even the Doge army, which has for years hailed Musk as a ‘god,’ is expressing its concerns.
Dogecoin co-creator Jackson Palmer, who’s no longer involved with the project, is one of those who are not as amused by Musk.
“Reminder: Elon Musk is and always will be a self-absorbed grifter,” Palmer took to Twitter to state.
The Doge developers – it has four dedicated developers – have been working with Musk for years. However, one of them has also recently expressed his concerns regarding Musk’s role.
Michi Lumin recently told WIRED, “I’m not comfortable with any one person or small entity being able to manipulate the market. I guess that’s where we are in crypto right now. It’s not great, that’s for sure.”
That Musk recently claimed he might start a new cryptocurrency project if Doge doesn’t succeed doesn’t help with the developer’s sentiment.
Jill Carlson, a blockchain investor at Slow Ventures summed Musk up, “He seems to be primarily motivated by his own entertainment on the Dogecoin front. He goes wading into these big problems and then sets it up so he can enter as the hero.”