No evidence Tesla has ‘invented a new electronic currency’

19 July 2022
What was claimed

Tesla has invented a new electronic currency, endorsed by Elon Musk.

Our verdict

There is no evidence this is true. Neither Tesla nor Mr Musk have announced this, and Full Fact could find no information supporting the claim.

A large number of posts claiming that Tesla has invented a new electronic currency, offering significant returns for investors, have appeared on Facebook. 

Full Fact could find no evidence of Tesla launching a new electronic currency. 

In January it was announced that the company was accepting Dogecoin—a form of cryptocurrency which was initially launched as a joke—as a form of payment for some Tesla merchandise, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has discussed cryptocurrency extensively

But neither of these facts substantiate claims that Tesla itself has launched its own form of electronic currency. 

While some of the language in the posts differs, all of them use the same video which features a picture of Mr Musk and shows an investment of £200 multiplying to £7,740 in four weeks. 

The posts include links to website pages—poorly designed imitations of news sites such as BBC News or Canadian paper the Toronto Star—about different types of cryptocurrency alleged to have been invested or promoted directly by Tesla. 

Several different cryptocurrency trading platforms appear to be promoted through these channels, including “BitcoinPrime” and “BitProfit”.

We could find no information online suggesting that Tesla or Mr Musk were involved with either of these platforms, and Mr Musk—whose name and image is directly involved in the promotion of these sites—appears to have never tweeted about them

It was reported in 2020 that Tesla had dissolved its PR team, but their website does still include contact emails for journalists around the world. Full Fact approached the company for comment through this channel, but did not receive a response. 

While Tesla doesn’t have its own cryptocurrency platform it is heavily involved in electronic currency—reportedly holding nearly $2 billion in bitcoin as of December 2021. 

Mr Musk has been associated with different types of cryptocurrency in the past, such as several which appear to have been created by fans of Mr Musk and named after his dog Floki, such as Flokinomics, and others like Ratcoin which have denied any connection with the entrepreneur.

In May 2021, Mr Musk tweeted about how he believed DogeCoin could be improved, but described making an entirely new cryptocurrency as a “big pain in the neck”.

It is very common to see people using popular brands or high-profile figures to endorse products these entities have nothing to do with, and we have seen similar posts many times over the course of our online fact checking. 

Public figures associated with finance, such as the “dragons” featured on BBC programme Dragons’ Den or consumer finance journalist Martin Lewis, are commonly used in this form of misinformation. In 2018, the BBC reported that fans of Mr Musk had been targeted in a cryptocurrency scam.

Image courtesy of Heisenberg Media

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