Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stated on Tuesday that governments should refrain from regulating the cryptocurrency industry.
“I don’t think it’s conceivable to destroy crypto,” Musk said to New York Times columnist Kara Swisher at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “However, governments have the ability to stymie its progress.”
Instead, he thinks regulators should “do nothing” and “just let it go.”
His remarks come as the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, has described cryptocurrencies as the “Wild West” of digital assets and has advocated for increased regulation in the United States. Meanwhile, China started its own crypto crackdown last week, making all cryptocurrency transactions and mining activity illegal in the country.
Musk commented on China’s prohibition, stating that a portion of it is likely due to the country’s “severe electricity generation challenges.”
“A lot of South China is experiencing sporadic power disruptions due to higher-than-expected electricity consumption,” he explained. “Crypto mining could play a role in that.”
Earlier this year, Musk warned of the “insane” electricity usage of Bitcoin mining and revised his position on adopting the world’s largest cryptocurrency as an alternative method of payment for Tesla automobiles due to its excessive reliance on fossil fuels.
However, the electric vehicle manufacturer still has $1.5 billion in Bitcoin on its balance sheet after purchasing it in February.
Aside from China’s possible concerns about its energy usage and environmental impact, Musk stated that cryptocurrency is “fundamentally geared at diminishing the power of a centralized government,” something the Chinese “do not like.”
In the future, Musk expressed hope that cryptocurrencies might help minimize “error and delay” in the financial system, but noted that he does not consider himself a “huge cryptocurrency specialist.”
“I believe cryptocurrency has some value,” Musk remarked. “I don’t believe it’s the second coming of the Messiah, as everyone seems to believe.”
According to real-time price tracking by Coindesk, the cryptocurrency market is trading upward as of the time of writing on Wednesday, with Bitcoin currently selling around $42,000 per coin and rivals Ethereum and Dogecoin trading at $2,900 and 20 cents per coin, respectively.