Bitcoin has a serious competitor.
Only a week after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the automaker now accepts Bitcoin as payment, the carmaker has decided to launch its own cryptocurrency. Introducing the very appropriately named X Æ A-12Coin. Like Bitcoin and other digital currencies, X Æ A-12Coin does not exist in physical form. But unlike Bitcoin, it will be issued through a central authority: Tesla, Inc.
Musk said on Twitter he plans to open an online bank by late summer where anyone, anywhere in the world, can purchase X Æ A-12Coin. X Æ A-12, is, of course, the name Musk gave to his youngest son, born last year.
The outspoken CEO added negotiations are currently taking place with major retail companies to accept the new currency. A list of companies was not provided for now. However, the first 412,021 X Æ A-12Coin customers who decide to use the currency to buy a new Tesla Model S or any other vehicle in the lineup, including a Cybertruck pre-order, will receive a 10 percent discount.
This goes into effect starting today, April 1. X Æ A-12Coin, like Bitcoin, will be retained as X Æ A-12Coin, rather than being converted into a government-issued paper currency, also known as a fiat currency. But there's a key reason why X Æ A-12Coin exists: unlike Bitcoin, X Æ A-12Coin (the capital 'C' is deliberate) can be used by Tesla customers outside of the US. There's also greater flexibility when using the new currency.
For example, if buyers make a mistake and send the incorrect X Æ A-12Coin amount when placing their order, that order won't be automatically canceled, which is the case with Bitcoin. Delivery delays are also unlike if the customer sends the wrong amount for the car's final payment; Tesla will give X Æ A-12Coin users the benefit of the doubt.
Processing X Æ A-12Coin payments from a customer's digital wallet is instant and an email confirmation will arrive within minutes. Like Bitcoin payments, refunds are not possible but users will be granted special status with improved customer service because they're part of the greater "Tesla family."
Each X Æ A-12Coin account holder will have their own private banker to help facilitate purchases of both Tesla products, including upgrade packages, and more X Æ A-12Coin. Customers will not be able to buy their own SpaceX rocket, but they can use it for solar roof installation. Tesla's interest in digital currencies dates back several months when it purchased $1.5 billion in Bitcoin. Now that it has its own currency, it hopes to eventually phase out all other forms of payment.