Welcome to another edition of Business Twitter, where we collect the best tweets to come out of Silicon Valley so you don’t have to. This article is part of a newsletter — if you want a weekly Business Twitter roundup sent to your inbox every Friday, subscribe here.
This week: Musk breaks with Bitcoin, Thiel’s 2014 Reddit AMA, and how to build a Twitter following according to certified “sages.”
Here’s everything you may have missed from this week.
1. Musk breaks with Bitcoin
Tesla & Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/YSswJmVZhP— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2021
Elon Musk’s history with cryptocurrency is rather complicated. After announcing that Tesla was not only buying $TK in Bitcoin, but letting customers buy Teslas with the cryptocurrency, Musk announced this week that Tesla would no longer accept crypto payments.
Musk cited environmental concerns for the policy change, writing that Bitcoin comes at a “great cost to the environment.”
Naturally, several crypto enthusiasts weren’t happy about the statement, arguing that Bitcoin actually doesn’t harm the environment as much as people think (more on this controversial topic in our next list item below).
Elon ... you realize that 75% of miners use renewable energy, right?— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) May 12, 2021
This energy story has been debunked over and over again.
Ironic because no incremental energy is used in a #bitcoin transaction. The energy is used to secure the crypto-asset network, and the net impact on fossil fuel consumption over time will be negative, all things considered.— Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) May 12, 2021
Even Peter Schiff, noted crypto critic, got in on the discourse, replying with an eggplant emoji in an apparent callback to Musk’s joke from February.
2. Is Bitcoin bad for the planet?
By now you've probably heard that #Bitcoin mining is bad for the environment. @ElonMusk even Tweeted about it yesterday 🪙.— Thomson Reuters Foundation News (@TRF_Stories) May 13, 2021
But why does mining use so much energy? And how big is the impact anyway? 🧵 pic.twitter.com/bCxFrcMI30
After Tesla backed out of letting customers use Bitcoin to pay for its cars, an age-old question cropped up once again: Just how bad is crypto mining for the planet?
Despite many people in the crypto community saying Bitcoin isn’t as bad for the planet as people think, crypto mining actually uses up a lot of energy, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. In fact, Bitcoin mining alone accounts for 0.05% of global energy consumption, more than all of Sweden.
That reply from investor Pompliano about 75% of Bitcoin miners using renewable energy? It’s not totally accurate. Reuters debunks the myth here:
“The most recent research on this comes from a University of Cambridge survey done in Spring 2020. They found that while over 75% of miners used renewables as a part of their energy mix, nearly 66% of their energy came from fossil fuels.”
If you’re wondering what the total carbon footprint of cryptocurrency is, that’s hard to quantify. Miners are spread out all over the world (but the majority live in China), and there are different sources of energy for their electricity usage, from renewables to coal. That makes it difficult to round up, but there’s no doubt that some groups of miners use a staggering amount of fossil fuels to mine crypto, and Musk’s decision was based on fact.
3. Audience building advice from Twitter sages
How to win at Twitter without really trying:— Dave Nemetz (@davenemetz) May 11, 2021
Growing on Twitter takes hard work, and don't let any growth hack threads convince you otherwise.
I spoke to Twitter sages @mkobach @Cokedupoptions and @TrungTPhan on last week's Audience Builders.
My key takeaways:
Bleacher Report and Inverse founder Dave Nemetz is obsessed with building an audience on Twitter. He recently spoke with “Twitter sages” Trung Phan, Matthew Kobach, and parody account John W. Rich about what it really takes to get tens — or even hundreds — of followers.
“Twitter growth is both an art and science,” Nemetz wrote. He then dispelled several myths about getting popular on Twitter. First off, you don’t need to be an expert in your field to get people to notice you.
Second, the perfect tweet doesn’t exist. “You can’t reverse engineer virality,” Nemetz wrote.
Lastly, dumb tweets are not only fine, but they’ll often help you gain more followers than an earnest tweet.
4. Peter Thiel’s Reddit AMA
Peter Thiel's 2014 Reddit AMA is full of nuggets 🧵— Trung Phan 🇨🇦 (@TrungTPhan) May 13, 2021
1/ His biggest investing mistake was *not* doubling down on Facebook pic.twitter.com/GReZc52CCV
Because no Business Twitter roundup would be complete without a thread from Twitter sage Trung Phan himself, here’s a 2014 Reddit AMA from Peter Thiel that Phan dug up this week.
The Palantir founder had several pieces of advice to share, as well as some zingers. When one Redditor asked if Palantir was a front for the CIA, Thiel replied jokingly, “No, the CIA is a front for Palantir.”
While Thiel cracked jokes throughout the AMA, one of his most insightful opinions came when someone asked, “What is one thing you believe is true that most people don't?”
Thiel wrote that he viewed capitalism and competition as opposites. “A capitalist accumulates capital, and in a world of perfect competition all the capital gets competed away.” He likened Google’s monopolistic nature to capitalism, and the restaurant industry’s cutthroat nature to competition. Naturally, a company like Google is considered more successful than any restaurant.