Tesla Takes $51M Impairment Charge for Bitcoin Holdings in Third Quarter

The electric car maker reported no new sales or purchases of bitcoin in the third quarter.

Oct 20, 2021 at 8:38 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 20, 2021 at 9:12 p.m. UTC

Electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) took an impairment charge of $51 million in the third quarter to account for its bitcoin holdings.

  • Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company reported no new sales or purchases of digital assets, according to its 3Q earnings presentation. The company currently holds $1.26 billion in bitcoin.
  • According to accounting rules for digital assets, if the price of an asset falls during the quarter a company must report an impairment, but if the price increases it is not reported as a gain on the balance sheet.
  • Bitcoin gained roughly 30% in the third quarter, rising to about $43,800.
  • Tesla announced in February it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin. Later in Q1, the company trimmed its bitcoin position by 10%, a sale that boosted that quarter’s earnings by $272 million. Tesla also didn’t buy or sell any bitcoin in the second quarter.
  • Overall, Tesla’s adjusted Q3 earnings per share came in at $1.86 versus $1.62 expected, according to FactSet, while revenue came in at $13.76 billion vs. $14.00 billion expected.
  • Tesla’s share price fell 0.2% to $864.22 in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

UPDATE (Oct. 20, 21:03 UTC): Added information in the second bullet point.

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Josh Fineman is CoinDesk's Senior Wall Street Reporter, covering the intersection of crypto and traditional finance.