The price of bitcoin rose on Monday after Elon Musk, the billionaire Tesla chief executive, said he was a â€œsupporterâ€� of the cryptocurrency.
â€œBitcoin is a good thing,â€� Musk said in comments broadcast on social audio app Clubhouse on Monday. Musk said he was â€œlate to the partyâ€� in backing bitcoin.
Bitcoin had surged to above $38,000 on Friday after Musk changed his biography on the Twitter social network to simply â€œ#bitcoinâ€�.
Last week he jumped on the GameStop bandwagon, tweeting â€œGamestonkâ€�, a play on stock market memes, alongside a link to the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit, where users had banded together to pump up the value of the game retailerâ€™s shares.
Musk added in his Clubhouse comments that his tweets about dogecoin, another less popular cryptocurrency, were â€œreally just meant to be jokesâ€�. The value of the dogecoin cryptocurrency, which was branded with a Shiba Inu meme, has increased sharply whenever Musk has tweeted about it.
He also made a series of notable claims in his first appearance on the app, including saying that Neuralink, a company that he founded to work on controlling computers with the human brain, had implanted a microchip in a monkeyâ€™s brain to enable it to play videogames.
Musk became the richest person in the world at the start of the year as the price of shares in Tesla, the US electric car pioneer, soared, but in recent weeks he has used his considerable following to talk up other investments.
Musk was one of the characters featured in a Star Wars-style poster, widely shared on the WallStreetBets page on Monday, for an imagined film about the GameStop frenzy. The imagined film was entitled Diamond Hands, a reference to investors who hold on to their extremely risky financial bets even in the most volatile conditions.
His comfort with online culture has long been apparent, with the chief executive regularly posting memes, including related to financial topics. However, it has also caused problems for him and his company. In 2019 Musk reached a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after he tweeted that he had â€œfunding securedâ€� to take Tesla private at $420 a share.
The tweet caused a sharp rally in Tesla shares, but it later emerged that funding was not in place, and there were suspicions that Musk chose the $420 figure because of its associations with cannabis culture.
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