Elon Musk Asks About Ethereum Development Possibilities

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With major companies like JP Morgan and EY embracing building via the Ethereum network, could electric car manufacturer Tesla be next?

Not quite, at least not yet — but Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has now teased potential interest in Ethereum, sending the cryptoeconomy into an acute buzz accordingly.


On April 29th, Musk, who also founded space transportation company SpaceX and who playfully refers to himself as “Meme Necromancer” on his Twitter bio, simply tweeted out the word “Ethereum.” It wasn’t his first crypto tease.

Last fall, Musk randomly tweeted out “Wanna buy some bitcoin?” — a move that temporarily shuttered his account as Twitter’s security mechanisms flagged it as being compromised. On this year’s April Fools’ Day, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said “Dogecoin rulz” and temporarily joked that he was the Dogecoin CEO.

Thus Musk’s latest crypto shoutout was toward Ethereum, which initially sent Ethereum proponents and other sympathetic factions in the cryptoverse into an optimistic frenzy.

The episode was tempered when, true to his ambiguous and trollish Twitter habits, Musk tweeted out “jk” a few minutes later. Ethereum skeptics pounced on the follow-up tweet just as quickly, arguing that the eccentric CEO was just trolling the smart contract platform’s community.

Some pundits in the cryptocurrency ecosystem wondered if Musk’s lawyers had effectively told him to walk back the initial Ethereum comment out of an abundance of legal caution, i.e. so it couldn’t be construed that Musk was plainly attempting to pump the price of ether (ETH), the “gas” and native crypto.

Yet that “jk” reply wasn’t the end of the curious episode, either. Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin tweeted out to Musk’s initial comment in saying that the CEO would be welcome to come to Ethereum’s next flagship conference, this fall’s Devcon.

Musk was initially playful once more, jovially telling Buterin to “stop giving away free ETH!” — a reference to Buterin’s Twitter name epithet of “Non-giver of Ether” and to the previously prominent crypto scams that used fake profiles of high-profile people, e.g. Buterin and Musk, to solicit ether.

Several hours later, however, Musk got more seriously inquisitive, asking Buterin “What should be developed on Ethereum?” The rhetorical shift suggested that the CEO’s interest may not have been facetious after all.

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Chimes in on the Network’s Possibilities

Determined to take up the gauntlet of Musk’s request, Buterin proceeded to post a five-part Twitter thread cataloging his “top picks” for the best use cases that are being, or could be, developed on Ethereum.

First, Buterin began with the big picture, saying Ethereum could power a “globally accessible financial system” and trustless identity solutions, i.e. for distributed logins on social media platforms. He also added that micropayments, experimental organizations like DAOs, and on-chain registeries were ideal use cases for the network.

In his later tweets, Buterin noted that Ethereum could be used for experimenting with new market structures, personal (and private) data markets, publisher micro-rewards, and mitigating social network spamming.

Lastly, Buterin said Ethereum would be used to underpin mesh networks, peer-to-peer marketplaces for internet connections, “DNS alternatives,” and credit and reputation systems in humanitarian contexts.

With that, the Ethereum co-creator’s pitch session came to a conclusion. Musk hasn’t since replied to any of Buterin’s proposed ideas, as the Tesla CEO may have nothing further to add to the conversation for now.

However, Musk presumably read all of Buterin’s replies, so going forward he should be better acquainted with the use cases Ethereum can actualize.

That reality is still a far cry from Tesla imminently implementing Ethereum-based micropayments. But Musk seems to have a growing crypto itch, and the cryptoeconomy’s stakeholders would be happy to welcome him into the fold, however that would be, any time.


William M. Peaster is a professional writer and editor who specializes in the Ethereum, Dai, and Bitcoin beats in the cryptoeconomy. He's appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, and more. He enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. He's learning Solidity, too! Contact him on Telegram at @wmpeaster

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