Elon Musk Tells Dave Portnoy He Has it Wrong About Selling Bitcoin in Twitter Exchange

Tesla CEO Elon Musk rebuked Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy on Monday for suggesting that Musk had sold off his Bitcoin to "make a fortune" after temporarily inflating its value.

In a brief Twitter exchange with Portnoy, Musk insisted that he had "not sold any" of his own Bitcoin and that the fact that Tesla sold off 10 percent of its holdings recently, which the company disclosed in a first-quarter 2021 earnings release, had been intended to prove the cryptocurrency's ability to be used as a liquid asset instead of traditional currency.

"So am I understanding this correctly? @elonmusk buys #bitcoin. Then he pumps it. It goes up. Then he dumps it and make a fortune," Portnoy tweeted.

"No, you do not," Musk replied. "I have not sold any of my Bitcoin. Tesla sold 10% of its holdings essentially to prove liquidity of Bitcoin as an alternative to holding cash on balance sheet."

So am I understanding this correctly? @elonmusk buys #bitcoin. Then he pumps it. It goes up. Then he dumps it and make a fortune. Listen I own 1 #Bitcoin but #bitcoin is exactly who we thought it was. Just don’t be last 1 #HODLing the bag.

— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) April 26, 2021

Portnoy followed up by tweeting an image of a dog angrily biting into heads of lettuce while being restrained, alongside the comment "I am holding 100% of my Bitcoin."

In his original tweet to Musk, Portnoy added that he owned one Bitcoin but believes the cryptocurrency is "exactly who we thought it was" and urged others not to become the last person "HODling" their investment, referring to a slang term for holding onto a cryptocurrency while disregarding short-term price changes.

Tesla's quarterly report on Monday announced that the company had received $272 million in proceeds from sales of "digital assets," resulting in a $101 million profit, during the period from January 1 to March 31. The report also recorded that $1.5 billion in the same assets had been purchased during the quarter. The company announced a $1.5 billion Bitcoin purchase in February.

Zachary Kirkhorn, Tesla's chief financial officer, confirmed that 10 percent of the company's Bitcoin assets had been sold during an earnings call on Monday, according to NPR.

"Elon and I were looking for a place to store cash that wasn't being immediately used, trying to get some level of return on this, but also preserve liquidity," Kirkhorn said. "Bitcoin seemed at the time, and so far has proven to be, a good decision—a good place to place some of our cash that's not immediately being used."

The values of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which was originally created as a parody of cryptocurrencies, have risen significantly following frequent and enthusiastic tweets from Musk. In addition to announcing a massive investment in Bitcoin, Tesla this year also began to allow customers to purchase their vehicles using the cryptocurrency.

Newsweek reached out to Tesla for comment.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses at an event in Berlin, Germany on December 1, 2020. Britta Pedersen/Getty