Elon Musk and Tesla made headlines again last week after reporting a $1.5B stake in Bitcoin and announcing that they will let their customers purchase cars with crypto in the near future. Twitter, Visa, Mastercard and BNY are just some of the names of companies that are following the lead and expanding their crypto-related product offerings. It proves that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are going mainstream. In an interview with BBC, Eric Turner, vice-president of market intelligence at cryptocurrency research firm Messari, states that Tesla's move will be an acceleration of companies investing into Bitcoin.
One of the largest companies in the world now owns Bitcoin and by extension, every investor that owns Tesla, or even just an S&P 500 fund, has exposure to it as well.
Elon Musk has been extremely vocal about his support for cryptocurrencies for years. In a recent Twitter exchange, Musk urged major DOGE holders to "sell most of their coins." When one of the users suggested that he should develop his own crypto, he answered enigmatically, stating that he'd do it "only if necessary." In this article, I'd like to explore what an "ElonCoin" look like.
How easy is it to launch and promote a new coin? For someone like Elon Musk, considering access to almost limitless resources (both money and people) as well as his personal and professional connections, it's extremely easy. The paradox behind the popularity of Dodgecoin is that it was launched as a joke. It's a digital coin with a picture of a dog on it! It's a meme coin that played a joke on its creators perplexing everyone with the constant surge in popularity and value. Could Musk do the same with his own coin? Most likely - his social presence and popularity would fuel the interest and pump the value overnight. The question we should be asking ourselves is what would the value of creating a Dodgecoin clone be without a real use case behind it. The more likely scenario, in my opinion, is a broader adoption of blockchain at Tesla with a crypto currency issued to help with transaction validation. There are numerous areas of the business where Tesla could benefit from blockchain. I will describe two hypothetical scenarios which could fuel Tesla's growth and open new revenue streams.
Tesla is building a fleet of electric, autonomous consumer and commercial vehicles. With any manufacturing asset, there is an ecosystem of participants that benefit from the efficient operations of the ecosystem. Currently, there is very little incentive to share data, which results in a lack of trust, accountability and low visibility when it comes to asset analytics. Asset management has been disrupted by adoption of IoT, AI and ELDs and could be further accelerated with blockchain, which could enable secure and trusted information sharing. Tesla, consumers, regulators, retailers, utility providers and certified garages could all benefit from a distributed network to optimise the performance of the vehicles. Blockchain could help Tesla ecosystem with correct depreciation calculation, asset scoring, performance recommendations, charging controls and battery optimisation, asset re-sell, value calculations or warranty calculations. In oder to verify the transactions on the blockchain, Tesla could use their very own token.
Tesla's users love Tesla. The reality is, however, that the EV/AV market is growing and the number of competitors are growing. Consumers have difficulty keeping track of all the loyalty programs they are part of. They are being bombarded by emails, ads on social media, texts and push notifications, which typically results in low engagement, and with time, customer churn. It is time-consuming and expensive to acquire and onboard new customers and losing one is really bad for your business. What could Tesla do? Build a blockchain network together with their ecosystem partners, where consumers can track, use and exchange loyalty tokens across all the participating partners. With blockchain, they can acquire and onboard customers quicker, keep them engaged and provide more choices for the consumer. Customers would have greater visibility into the loyalty program and could easily transfer balances and tokens across the whole Tesla partner ecosystem network.
The number of use cases is limitless: Tesla Energy (moving carbon credits or renewable energy certificates onto the blockchain and helping to redistribute energy generated by solar panels through Tesla Grid), Tesla Education (attract, track and incentivise people for learning about sustainability), Tesla Finance (reimagine insurance, KYC/AML and payment settlement on blockchain), Tesla Software (sell EV/AV proprietary software to other makers and leverage blockchain for data sharing and distribution and will benefit the whole ecosystem) or Tesla Transport (re-imagine air, road, and space travel with blockchain). These aren't real products (yet) - it's just my creative imagination. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if Tesla was already working internally on some of these projects.
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