Tesla is betting big on bitcoin, saying it may soon accept the digital currency as payment for its cars. And the most valuable car company on the stock market said it is holding some of its cash in bitcoin rather than traditional currency.
In its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said that it expects "to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future ... initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt."
In addition, Tesla said it has invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin so far as part of a decision to "invest a portion of [the company's] cash in certain specified alternative reserve assets." Tesla lists $19 billion in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet as of December 31.
The announcement gives the cryptocurrency a fresh dose of legitimacy: The price of bitcoin was up 12% in morning trading on the news. Shares of Tesla were up 2% in early trading.