Tesla (NASDAQ) CEO Elon Musk surprised cryptocurrency enthusiasts and Tesla fans in late 2021 when he announced on Twitter that the electric car company would start accepting Dogecoin (CRYPTO: DOGE) for some purchases of Tesla merchandise. The company, which previously accepted Bitcoin for purchases of its electric vehicles before removing the option to pay with Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) in May 2021, has long been a vocal supporter of cryptocurrency and the potential it has to change the world in the future—much like electric vehicles have already changed the world as we know it.
Dogecoin, a popular meme coin that was first introduced in 2013 as a joke, has quickly become one of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies after skyrocketing in value in early 2021. The coin, which was long valued at a fraction of a penny for years before going viral in late 2020, reached an all time high of $0.73 cents on May 8, 2021 amid months of speculation that Musk would hype up the coin until it reached $1. While it never quite got there, there is still hope for the cryptocurrency as it remains one of the more popular meme coins and has wide availability on most trading apps—something that most meme coins do not have in common.
Elon Musk began talking about Dogecoin online in early 2021, just before Tesla announced it would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment on Tesla vehicles. Just a few months later, citing pressure from environmentalists, Tesla removed the ability for consumers to pay with Bitcoin and said it was interested in seeking an alternative cryptocurrency with better environmental impact, or in working with Bitcoin miners to develop a more sustainable future for the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin, which is a deflationary asset that will accrue significant value over time, is demonstrating to be less of a transactional currency as most people invest in the crypto to hold it for long periods of time, rather than spend it on products and consumer goods as it was used a decade ago. Gone are the days where anyone would spend bitcoin on a pizza, but the future of transactional cryptocurrencies is vast, and it could lie in something like Dogecoin. Or at least, that’s how Elon Musk sees it. In his 2021 TIME Magazine Person of the Year profile, Musk said that Dogecoin demonstrated great transactional use-case, where Bitcoin is often treated more like a store of wealth cryptocurrency.
Right now, the option to pay for something with Dogecoin isn’t actually accessible to consumers on the Tesla website. The announcement specified that users would be able to buy certain merchandise with the crypto, likely pointing to things like hats and socks and not vehicles or equipment available through Tesla. It’s unclear when customers will be able to use Dogecoin as a payment method, as the company doesn’t have a public relations department, but the currency has been written into the source code of the website, so it could be anytime now.
Users on Twitter have found that the ability to pay for a Tesla Model Y vehicle with Dogecoin was also written into the source code of the Tesla Model Y purchase page, though the company has not made any public announcements on whether this will come into fruition.
Rumors suggest that the company is likely testing the feature, or preparing for the payment option in the future, but it remains unclear whether the company will actually accept Dogecoin as a form of payment at any point in the future. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long been awaiting the moment when Tesla accepts crypto once again, and Dogecoin is a likely candidate both because of Musk’s passion for the project and over its use-case as a transactional cryptocurrency. Musk, who is also the CEO of SpaceX, has also joked that he would like to see Dogecoin become the official currency of life on Mars, though that may not be serious.
Musk said that the company would “see how it goes” regarding letting users purchase certain merchandise with Dogecoin. This suggests that the decision to accept Dogecoin may not be permanent, or that the company could expand the payment method to include vehicles if it goes well. Regardless, no official announcements on whether consumers can buy a vehicle with Dogecoin has come yet, but signs are pointing to that being a possibility in the future.