Tesla Sells Bitcoin Holdings As Price Slumps

Electric vehicle maker Tesla (TSLA) sold 75% of its Bitcoin (BTC) holdings as the price of the largest cryptocurrency fell in recent months.

Tesla’s investment in Bitcoin helped to legitimize cryptocurrencies and the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), Elon Musk, has been an outspoken advocate of digital coins and tokens, including of speculative assets such as Dogecoin (DOGE).

However, none of that stopped Tesla from selling 75% of its Bitcoin by the end of June, adding $936 million U.S. of cash to its balance sheet, according to the carmaker’s second quarter earnings statement.

On a conference call with analysts following the Q2 print, Musk said Tesla sold the Bitcoin due to uncertainty as to when COVID-19 manufacturing shutdowns would end in China.

“This should not be taken as some verdict on Bitcoin,” Musk said to the analysts.

Still, Musk has been a high-profile champion of cryptocurrencies, tweeting regularly about both Bitcoin and Dogecoin.

At a Bitcoin conference last year, Musk said the three things he personally owned aside from Tesla shares were cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), and Dogecoin. Tesla first disclosed in February 2021 that it had invested $1.5 billion U.S. in Bitcoin.

Tesla said, as part of its Q2 results, that digital assets held by the company have shrunk to $218 million U.S., and that a Bitcoin impairment charge dragged on its profitability in the April through June period.

Bitcoin’s price has fallen to $22,600 U.S. from a peak of $68,000 U.S. last November.

In terms of its second quarter results, Tesla reported that its revenue grew 42% in the period, although its operating margins decreased due to inflation and more competition for the components needed to make electric vehicles.

Tesla reported earnings per share (EPS) of $2.27 U.S. compared to $1.81 U.S. that was expected on Wall Street, according to Refinitiv data. Revenue totaled $16.93 billion U.S. versus $17.1 billion U.S. expected by analysts.

Automotive gross margins at Tesla during the second quarter came in at 27.9%, down from 32.9% in this year’s first quarter, and 28.4% a year earlier.

Tesla stock is down 38% this year and trading at $742.50 U.S. per share.