EVEN by its own rollercoaster standards, Bitcoin had a wild ride today.
The crypto currency first tumbled 9% to its lowest since early February on Twitter chatter that Tesla is poised to dump its holdings.
Last week founder Elon Musk said the car maker would not accept payment in bitcoin. A typically obtuse tweet from him today caused further unease
A tweet to the Tesla chief executive said: "Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their Bitcoin holdings. With the amount of hate [Elon Musk] is getting, I wouldn’t blame him." Musk replied: "Indeed."
He later clarified that Tesla has not sold its bitcoin.
It rallied 5% to around $44, 210, though Musk didn’t seem to say that Tesla wouldn’t dump the coins in future.
The financial establishment remains skittish on bitcoin, sometimes deciding it is legitimate, sometimes a bubble or even a scam.
Neil Wilson of Markets.com said: “There is nothing new I can say about Bitcoin – volatile, highly speculative, easy to manipulate; a bubble.”
Chris Weston of brokerage Pepperstone says there has been $1.5 billion of bitcoin liquidated in the last 24 hours.
He said: “Why would I want to buy bitcoin right now - even if I’m bullish - until the liquidation is over and you see some consolidation in price?”
Other crypto joined the pity party. Ethereum fell 9%, dogecoin more than 5%.
Musk has lately warned of the environmental impact of bitcoin, given how much energy computers servers use up.