Could Tesla be the next electric car manufacturer, with major companies like JP Morgan and EY supporting building via Ethereum? But not quite. At least not yet. Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has teased potential interest Ethereum, causing a flurry of excitement about the cryptoeconomy. Musk, who also co-founded SpaceX, a space transportation company, tweeted the word “Ethereum” on April 29th. It wasn’t his first crypto tease.
Musk randomly tweeted last fall “Wanna purchase some bitcoin?” Musk randomly tweeted “Wanna buy some bitcoin?” – a move which temporarily shut down his account after Twitter’s security systems flagged it as compromised. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who said “Dogecoin rulez” on April Fools’ Day this year, temporarily joked that it was him being the Dogecoin CEO.
Musk’s latest crypto shoutout was directed at Ethereum, which initially sent Ethereum supporters and other sympathetic factions of the cryptoverse into an optimist frenzy.
The episode was quickly tempered by Musk’s ambiguous and trollish Twitter behavior, who tweeted “jk” shortly after. The follow-up tweet was quickly retweeted by Ethereum skeptics, who claimed that Musk was simply joking about the community of smart contract platform users.
Some pundits in cryptocurrency wondered if Musk’s lawyers had actually told him to retract the initial Ethereum comment because of an over abundance of legal caution. It could not be concluded that Musk was simply trying to pump the price ether (ETH), native crypto and the “gas”.
But that was not the end of the strange episode. Vitalik Buterin, co-creator of Ethereum, tweeted that Musk’s initial comment was misunderstood and that the CEO would be welcomed to attend Ethereum’s next flagship conference, Devcon this fall.
Musk was playful again at first, telling Buterin to “stop giving out free ETH!” – a reference both to Buterin’s Twitter epithet of “Nongiver of Ether!” and to the previous prominent crypto scams that used fake profiles high-profile individuals, e.g. To solicit ether, Musk and Buterin.
Musk became more serious about his inquiry a few hours later and asked Buterin “What should we develop on Ethereum?” This rhetorical shift suggested that Musk’s interest might not have been joking after all.
Musk asked Buterin to respond to his request. He posted a five-part Twitter thread listing his “top picks” to highlight the best use cases for Ethereum.
First, Buterin started with the big picture. He stated that Ethereum could power a global financial system and trustless identity solutions. For distributed logins on social media platforms. He also mentioned that micropayments and experimental organizations such as DAOs, along with on-chain registeries, were all great use cases for the network.
Buterin later tweeted that Ethereum could be used to experiment with new market structures and personal (and private data markets), publisher micro-rewards and mitigating social media spamming.
Buterin also stated that Ethereum would be used to support mesh networks, peer–to-peer marketplaces, internet connections, “DNS alternative” and credit and reputation systems for humanitarian contexts.
The pitch session with the Ethereum co-creator came to an end. Musk has not yet responded to any of Buterin’s ideas. The Tesla CEO may not have anything to add to the conversation. Musk did, however, read all of Buterin’s replies. He should therefore be more familiar with the uses that Ethereum can realize.
This reality is far from Tesla’s imminent implementation of Ethereum-based micropayments. Musk does seem to be a crypto enthusiast, and all stakeholders in the cryptoeconomy would welcome him into their fold, however short it may be.