Elon Musk suggests China's cryptocurrency

Elon Musk suggests China's cryptocurrency crackdown is tied to the Communist Party maintaining its grip on power

Elon Musk on stage during his previous speech at the SXSW event. Amy E. Price/Contributor/Getty Images© Provided by Business Insider Elon Musk on stage during an earlier speech at the SXSW event. Amy E. Price/Contributors/Getty Images

'They don't seem to like crypto,' Musk told the Code Conference crowd.

The Tesla CEO used to be a big fan of cryptocurrencies, though his enthusiasm has waned lately.

The SpaceX founder also joked about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Elon Musk suggested that China's recent crackdown on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was prompted by the ruling Communist Party's fears that the technology could undermine its power.

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“It seems they don't like crypto,” he said during an onstage interview at the Code Conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday. "I think crypto is basically aimed at reducing the power of centralized government and they don't like that, I think."

China's central bank declared all cryptocurrency-related transactions illegal on Friday, and said foreign exchange was prohibited from providing services to Chinese residents, in its strongest crackdown on the digital asset industry.

Musk has been a huge fan of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and dogecoin, although his enthusiasm has waned in recent months due to concerns about the environmental impact of mining this digital asset.

The CEO revealed in February that Tesla was investing $1.5 billion in bitcoin and said the automaker would start accepting it as payment for vehicles. Nearly three months later, Tesla made a turn and stopped paying in bitcoin due to an energy-intensive mining process.

Musk announced a much-anticipated software update for Tesla vehicles on Saturday that would allow drivers to view daily "safety scores". The company's Full Self-Driving (FSD) software has been criticized by regulators. Jennifer Homendy, head of the National Transportation Safety Board, called the technology "irresponsible," and said the update was premature in a Wall Street Journal report.

FSD is an enhanced version of Autopilot, the driver assistance software included with every Tesla vehicle. FSD does not make cars fully autonomous but allows vehicles to change lanes, park themselves, and recognize traffic lights and stop signs.

Musk is also a co-founder of SpaceX, which completed the first all-tourist flight to orbit Earth earlier this month. The crew spent three days aboard the Dragon capsule, flying as high as 367 miles (590 kilometers) - farther from the planet than anyone has ever done since the Space Shuttle era.

Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are in a competitive space race, with the two billionaires fighting on social media and through regulators and other legal avenues.

Blue Origin, Bezos' rocket company, has filed numerous complaints with the FCC about SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet network and other issues. "Following legal action against SpaceX is actually his full-time job," Musk tweeted about the Blue Origin executive, echoing an earlier tweet that referred to Bezos' recent retirement as Amazon CEO.

The tech entrepreneur was again the world's richest man this month, after Tesla's stock rebounded from a slump earlier in the year. Musk also runs Neuralink, a startup that researches computer-to-brain connectivity, and The Boring Co., which tunnels across cities.

His personal life also changed this month. Tesla boss and Grimes, singer and producer, ended their relationship after three years. "Most of my work at SpaceX and Tesla requires me to be in Texas or traveling overseas and the job is primarily in LA," Musk said earlier this month.

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