Few people have the power to control markets with a single tweet – Tesla (TSLA) chief Elon Musk arguably tops that list.
For instance, just the picture of his new pet dog, a Shiba Inu puppy, sent soaring the price of a joke token of the same name. The dog was called Floki, and the tweet sent another meme token called Floki coin to an all-time high with a 250% surge in price.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD), the world's number one crytpo, isn’t immune to his tweets either.
In March, Musk tweeted that consumers can buy Tesla cars with bitcoin, only to say in May that the practice was suspended due to worries about the carbon foot print of bitcoin mining and transactions, causing the price of bitcoin to fall around 15%.
In June he said Tesla would allow transactions in bitcoin once mining is done with more clean energy, sending bitcoin up.
“Musk has gained a reputation as an innovator in many industries and his achievements have earned him a significant weight in investors' minds,” Wael Makarem, senior market strategist MENA at trading platform Exness told Yahoo Finance UK.
Makarem pointed out how he “notoriously gave some previously unknown cryptos like dogecoin legitimacy among the masses".
Read more: Live crypto prices
Case in point: a tweet in May when he said he was working with the crypto's developers to improve its efficiency as a means of payment. Dogecoin (DOGE-USD) soared on the day.
Makarem said this influence on the crypto industry could wane “as the industry matures and builds solid use cases besides speculation".
Kunal Sawhney, CEO at Kalkine Group, said that “the leading centibillionaire commands a massive base of followers across the world, subsequent to which all his actions and expressions are taken into consideration".
“Being the principal innovator behind the success of Tesla, SpaceX, OpenAI, Neuralink and The Boring Company, Musk has an ability to discuss on wide range of topics, be it the crypto-ecosystem, capital markets, currencies, oil, automobile & green energy,” he said.
“Following the widened outreach of Musk’s word on social media, a large section of people unequivocally incorporate his pieces of advice into their own trade setups and thought processes behind investing into a particular asset, irrespective of the persisting volatility.”
As the year comes to an end, here is a look at Musk’s top tweets that shook up the crypto world.
1. Musk shows Etsy some love
I kinda love Etsy
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 26, 2021
In January, Musk showed his appreciation for Etsy, a US e-commerce company known for selling handmade items and craft supplies, taking its stock to a record high.
2. GameStop gets a boost
GameStop's stock was flying high after Musk tweeted "Gamestonk!!", along with a link to Reddit's Wallstreetbets stock trading discussion group, members of which had piled into GameStop's soaring stock.
GameStop was already up over 600% when Musk weighed in on the rally as the group battled it out with institutional short-sellers.
3. The love-hate relationship with bitcoin
Elon Musk first tweeted that Tesla would accept payments via bitcoin, but less than two months later appeared to have changed his mind.
"Both tweets affected markets, but also opened debate and caused controversy," said Jason Deane, chief bitcoin analyst at Quantum Economics.
"The fact that he announced and reversed his decision so quickly because of 'environmental concerns' either indicated that he hadn’t done his research properly in the first place - which seems unlikely in Musk’s case - or was under pressure from outside parties to do so."
"Perhaps this was the company board, perhaps it was due to the green subsidy arrangement he has in place with government bodies who disapproved of the announcement. At this stage, we can’t be sure, but the whole event was curious."
He also said that since Musk promised that he would accept bitcoin again when over 50% of the bitcoin network ran on renewable or clean energy, strides in new tech and a drive for efficiency has continued to reduce bitcoin’s carbon footprint .
"Yet Musk has still reintroduced bitcoin payments. Clearly there are other factors."
You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2021
Spoke with North American Bitcoin miners. They committed to publish current & planned renewable usage & to ask miners WW to do so. Potentially promising.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 24, 2021
4. The power of the doge
The SpaceX CEO sent dogecoin prices up 30% in May after tweeting that he was working with developers to improve the currency’s efficiency. He's often supported the crypto – he called "the people's currency" in October. This caused the joke token to surge more than 60%.
Working with Doge devs to improve system transaction efficiency. Potentially promising.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2021
Lots of people I talked to on the production lines at Tesla or building rockets at SpaceX own Doge. They aren’t financial experts or Silicon Valley technologists. That’s why I decided to support Doge – it felt like the people’s crypto.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 24, 2021
"Musk has a social following that is many, many times larger than the readerships and viewerships of legacy media outlets... So of course he can move markets, especially when those markets are driven by meme-loving retail investors who are relatively inexperienced, think they don’t have much to lose, and are therefore willing to put their money into dogecoin and Shiba Inu without hesitation," Josh Goodbody, COO of Qredo, a network of digital asset custodian tools for financial institutions, told Yahoo Finance UK.
"Indeed, there are politicians who would dream of having the level of power he has over the economy, but most don’t have Elon’s meme-wizardry — or, depending on the perspective of the viewer, trolling — skills".
Meanwhile Deane said that his tweets about dogecoin have probably been the most controversial, "in terms of directly promoting a joke cryptocurrency that will almost certainly result is many people getting financially wiped out, if it hasn’t already".
5. In-flight entertainment
Yes, we are talking to airlines about installing Starlink. Please let them know if you want it on your airliner.
Low latency ~half gigabit connectivity in the air!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2021
In October, Musk tweeted he was in talks with airlines about installing Starlink, a satellite-based broadband service owned by SpaceX. Because of this, shares of rival in-flight internet provider Gogo (GOGO) fell.
6. Asking the people
Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.
Do you support this?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
In November perhaps one of the most surprising tweets came from Musk, asking his followers if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock. He went as far as to say: "I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes."
After almost 58% of 3.5 million Twitter users voted yes, Tesla shares tumbled the most they had done in eight months.
Musk did in fact keep to his word and start selling his personal Tesla holdings.
"Musk, along with so many leaders in business and politics, can circumvent the gatekeepers of old and build their own followings so as to make announcements about their company and/or government policies," said Adrian Kolody, the founder of Domination Finance, a non-custodial, decentralised exchange for dominance trading.
"Musk is perhaps the best at this because he’s fun and controversial and, moreover, because he has more than 60 million followers. That’s roughly two times the population of Canada. So when he gets on Twitter, he has influence. He is, after all, a memelord."
Watch: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?