Elon Musk Confirms He Is a Bitcoiner and Explains Why Tesla Sold 10% of Its Bitcoin

After Tesla reported its Q1 2021 Financial Results yesterday (April 26), many in the crypto community were shocked to hear Tesla had sold 10% of its recently acquired Bitcoin. Later, the Tesla CFO and the Tesla CEO made some clarifying remarks.

On February 8, the world discovered from Tesla’s latest annual report (Form 10-K), which had been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that the electric car maker had invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin.

The relevant section of the annual report read:

We hold and may acquire digital assets that may be subject to volatile market prices, impairment and unique risks of loss.

In January 2021, we updated our investment policy to provide us with more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity. As part of the policy, which was duly approved by the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, we may invest a portion of such cash in certain alternative reserve assets including digital assets, gold bullion, gold exchange-traded funds and other assets as specified in the future.

Thereafter, we invested an aggregate $1.50 billion in bitcoin under this policy and may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term. Moreover, we expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt.

Well, yesterday, Tesla reported its Q1 2021 results, and in the Shareholder Deck released by Tesla yesterday, the company had this to say about Bitcoin:

Year over year, positive impacts from volume growth, regulatory credit revenue growth, gross margin improvement driven by further product cost reductions and sale of Bitcoin ($101M positive impact, net of related impairments, in “Restructuring & Other” line) were mainly offset by a lower ASP, increased SBC, additional supply chain costs, R&D investments and other items. Model S and Model X changeover costs negatively impacted both gross profit as well as R&D expenses.

Quarter-end cash and cash equivalents decreased to $17.1B in Q1, driven mainly by a net cash outflow of $1.2B in cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) purchases, net debt and finance lease repayments of $1.2B, partially offset by free cash flow of $293M.

And in the “State of Cash Flows” section of the “Financial Statements”, you can see that Tesla received $272 million as the result of selling parts of its Bitcoin holdings.

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