Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices have swung wildly over the last couple of days, with bitcoin dipping under $30,000 before bouncing back.
Extreme bitcoin price swings have been outmatched by the meme-based dogecoin, Elon Musk’s pet project that’s rocketed into the cryptocurrency top ten by value this year (subscribe now to Forbes’ CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor and discover crypto blockbusters poised for 1,000% gains).
As cryptocurrency traders are whiplashed by bitcoin and dogecoin volatility, investors are braced for a closely-watched live discussion between Musk and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, set for 2pm EDT—with The ₿ Word event organizers promising “nothing is off-limits.”
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Announced last month, The ₿ Word is a bitcoin-focused online event that says it aims to “demystify and destigmatize mainstream narratives about bitcoin” and expand bitcoin awareness among companies and institutions.
Musk, who has alienated much of the bitcoin community with his irreverent attitude toward crypto since plowing $1.5 billion of Tesla’s cash into bitcoin earlier this year, initially trashed the event on Twitter before agreeing to attend.
Musk has repeatedly attacked so-called bitcoin maxis—who argue against all cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin—in recent months, calling for developers to suggest dogecoin upgrade ideas and promising the doge memecoin will eventually “beat bitcoin hands down.”
The dogecoin price has surged by many thousands of percent since the beginning of 2021, with investors pouring cash into the memecoin in the aftermath of trading restrictions being placed on viral meme stock Gamestop in January. Dogecoin tokens traded for mere fractions of a cent for years before surging to an all-time high of $0.73 in April on the back of a Musk-fuelled pump.
The 2021 bitcoin price rally, which saw bitcoin soar to around $65,000 per bitcoin before crashing back, was largely driven by expectations Tesla’s bet on bitcoin would spark a surge of corporate and institutional bitcoin buying that failed to transpire.
Bitcoin’s April crash, helping to wipe over $1 trillion from the combined crypto market capitalization, was partly caused by Musk’s shock announcement Tesla was pulling the bitcoin payment support it had added just a few weeks earlier. In a statement Musk cited bitcoin’s eye-watering energy demands, promising he would restart Tesla’s bitcoin support if the bitcoin network increased its use of renewable energy.
After China’s expulsion of bitcoin and crypto miners—who use powerful computers to secure the blockchain networks in return for freshly-minted tokens—in recent months, some have argued bitcoin’s renewable energy mix has crossed Musk’s required threshold. However, the ill-will generated by Musk’s flippant attitude toward bitcoin on Twitter has led to many of bitcoin’s most dedicated supporters denouncing Musk.
This week, Musk responded to a news story reporting his expected attendance at the event this week in his signature, offhand manner.
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“During this talk, we will sing a cover of The Final Countdown by Europe,” the Tesla billionaire, who was voted dogecoin’s CEO in a 2019 tongue-in-cheek Twitter poll, posted to Twitter before offering to lend Dorsey a wig.
Dorsey has emerged as one of bitcoin’s biggest supporters in recent years. He recently told the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami that if it wasn’t for Twitter and his payments company Square he would be working on bitcoin full time.
The ₿ Word event has been organized by the Crypto Council for Innovation, Cathie Wood’s investment management company Ark Invest, Square and crypto-focused venture fund Paradigm and is aiming to convince companies and institutions to invest in bitcoin, following in the footsteps of Tesla and business intelligence software company-turned bitcoin accumulator Microstrategy.
Alongside Musk and Dorsey, speakers at the event include SEC commissioner Hester Peirce, crypto venture capitalist and outspoken defender of bitcoin’s carbon footprint Nic Carter and Neha Narula of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative.