EXPLAINER: Why Is Elon Musk Pushing A Meme Currency?

Elon Musk’s flurry of tweets about Dogecoin has made the tongue-in-cheek cryptocurrency soar in value. What's Elon playing at?

Over the past couple of weeks, Elon Musk, everyone's favourite billionaire [this claim has been disputed] has been tweeting a lot about the cryptocurrency Dogecoin – named for the ubiquitous Shiba Inu meme known colloquially as 'doge'. He even ran a poll on whether it become the official currency of Earth, causing it to soar in value, Gamestop-style, on Crypto Exchanges. The thing is, Dogecoin started out as a joke. So why is Elon pushing it?

Today, the curtain was pulled back – according to a US Securities and Investment Commission (SEC) filing, Tesla has been accruing large amounts ($1.9 billion AUD) of fellow cryptocurrency Bitcoin, in a bid to eventually allow consumers to buy their electric cars using the currency. This is big. In a testament to Musk's outsized influence following the news, Bitcoin's price soared to an all-time high of over $57,500 AUD (at time of writing).

Bitcoin's believers have always claimed it was "digital gold" but have long struggled to claim legitimacy with the big end of town. Musk's endorsement, however, is a game changer. Australian crypto community leaders SmartContractor and Crypto Cohen say this is a watershed moment for cryptocurrencies. "Tesla's announcement is going to greatly accelerate the legitimacy of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as an asset class among corporations and institutional investors," a spokesperson for SmartContracter tells MTV Australia. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Cohen says this moment was long prophesied. "For years people thought about [it], people talked about it, and now they are witnessing it – to say the floodgates have opened would be an understatement."

So why has Musk been talking about a meme coin and not Bitcoin? There might not be an answer yet. Earlier this month, Musk posted the hashtag "#Bitcoin" to Twitter before briefly mentioning it on a Clubhouse cast. The billionaire was cautious not to reveal too much – "I've got to watch what I say here because some of these things can really move the market". The key to what Musk is trying to do might be hidden within that hint.

You might remember, Musk got himself in a lot of hot water back in 2018 with the SEC off the back of a series of tweets – so much so that they took him to court claiming he had made "fraudulent statements" when he suggested in a tweet he had the money to take Tesla private.

We're left with more questions than answers. Has Musk been pumping Dogecoin to bring attention to Crypto and Bitcoin without revealing his real hand? Had he overly promoted Bitcoin prior to revealing Tesla's investment in Bitcoin, would he have again fallen foul of the SEC? Has Musk's pumping of Dogecoin just been another move in his all conquering game of 4D chess with humanity?

Oh Elon, you are from another world.

Written by MTV Australia's own Rob Rosenberg. Follow him on Twitter at @rdfrosenberg.

More good stuff:

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