Tesla CEO Elon Musk is hugely influential in the crypto world.
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  • Elon Musk hit back at Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, who said bitcoin is greener than people think.
  • Musk questioned where Powell was getting his data, reviving an argument in the bitcoin community.
  • Tesla isn't taking bitcoin payments, but said it will resume them when mining gets greener.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Elon Musk has hit back at the chief executive of the Kraken crypto exchange, who said bitcoin is "a lot greener than people give it credit for."

Responding to the statement on Twitter, Musk said: "Based on what data?" It marked a renewal of Musk's argument with crypto die-hards over bitcoin, which he has said is environmentally damaging due to the "insane" energy use required for the computing work that secures the network and creates new coins.

In May, Musk said his electric car company Tesla would stop accepting bitcoin as payment for its products. It was a major U-turn from an individual and company who had previously lauded the token, and triggered a sharp fall in the price.

Bitcoin fans, including Kraken CEO Jesse Powell and MicroStrategy boss Michael Saylor, have criticised Musk's position. They argue an increasing amount of bitcoin "mining" is done using renewable energy.

Powell told Bloomberg TV on Thursday that Musk has got "some more studying to do on this topic."

Musk's punchy answer showed the argument among some of bitcoin's most high-profile figures is far from over.

A study by Cambridge University in 2019 found 39% of bitcoin mining uses renewables as its primary energy source. Yet most bitcoin mining is done in China, according to Bank of America, where coal is the main source of power. Musk last week said Tesla would resume bitcoin transactions once miners started using around 50% green energy.

Bitcoin traded at around $39,190 (R548,66) on Thursday, up 1.7% on the day but down sharply from April's record high of close to $65,000 (R910,000).


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