The reflection of bitcoins in a computer hard drive.
Thomas Trutschel | Photothek via Getty Images
General Motors has no plans of investing in bitcoin, but CEO Mary Barra said the automaker will monitor customer demand as it weighs whether to accept the cryptocurrency to pay for its services and vehicles.
“We don’t have any plans to invest in bitcoin, so full-stop there,” she said in response to a question from Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Wednesday. “This is something we’ll monitor and we’ll evaluate. If there’s strong customer demand for it in the future, there’s nothing that precludes us from doing that.”
Barra’s comments follow Tesla’s disclosure earlier this week that it purchased $1.5 billion worth of the cryptocurrency.
In the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said it bought the bitcoin for “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.” It also is expected to give Tesla liquidity in the cryptocurrency ahead of plans to start accepting it for payments “subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis,” the company said.
GM, unlike Tesla, does not sell its vehicles directly to consumers. It uses a franchised dealership network. If GM were to accept the cryptocurrency for new vehicles, it would have to work the process out with its dealers and their shared systems.
Billionaire businessman Tilman Fertitta told CNBC on Tuesday his luxury car dealership has sold 17 vehicles to buyers using bitcoin since it started accepting transactions using the digital currency nearly three years ago.
Prices of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, surged to new highs Monday following Tesla’s announcement, reaching a price of at least $44,200. It was trading above $44,000 per coin Wednesday morning.
In its SEC filing, Tesla warned investors of the volatility of bitcoin’s price.
– CNBC’s Steve Kovach and Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this article.
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