How I Preordered a Tesla Model 3 With Bitcoin

The recent purchase of a Tesla 3 with bitcoin is the catalyst for this story about how far bitcoin has come since the days of pizzas and Alpaca socks.

AccessTimeIconApr 10, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 21, 2023 at 3:36 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconApr 10, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. UTCUpdated Feb 21, 2023 at 3:36 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconApr 10, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. UTCUpdated Feb 21, 2023 at 3:36 p.m. UTC

Mason Borda is a software engineer at BitGo, creator of GitMoney and the multi-signature Ethereum wallet Etherli.

In his free time, Mason enjoys fostering creativity and innovation in the Bitcoin space as the organizer of the 21 hackathons.

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In 2010 the first Bitcoin purchase was made for two pizzas from Papa Johns. By 2011, it was possible to purchase Alpaca socks, and in 2012 VPN access.

Today, I preordered a Tesla Model 3 for 2.413612 BTC.

When I first read about Tesla Motors, it was in regards to the release of the Tesla Roadster in 2007 on Slate. I remember reading the statistics of the vehicle thinking, how is it possible for an electric vehicle to possibly have a 0–60 time that rivals that of the latest model Ferrari. The reality of such acceleration for an electric vehicle seemed illogical at the time. I was left equally skeptical and excited.

This revelation led me to join the electric vehicle engineering club in college, where I led a team to build a battery swapping station for commercial electric vehicles, and coordinated regular tours to Tesla Motors starting in 2010, where we got to ride in a Tesla Roadster.

The ride was better than I had imagined. It was very low to the ground, agile, and one of the fastest vehicles I had ridden in at the time. The acceleration glued me to the seat and propelled me down the highway at an eerily constant torque. I had to have one.

Fast-forward to 2016, still just as big of a fan of new and emerging technologies, I have been entrenched in the world of bitcoin. Today, there are many applications coming online that enable consumers to buy everyday goods for bitcoin.

So, I decided to perform the momentous act of preordering my Tesla Model 3 with bitcoin.

The transaction

My weapon of choice was Shakepay, a new application which enables you to load up a one-time-use credit card for bitcoin.

Using my homebrew SMS interface for my BitGo web wallet, I loaded up a card on Shakepay with bitcoin, and used the card to preorder a Tesla Model 3. The entire process took me 60 seconds once my card was loaded. There was no credit check involved, or a waiting period for the credit card to arrive in the mail  –  it just worked.

As Steve Coast said, “The world will only get weirder”. How right he was. I just preordered an automobile that I have never seen or touched, which is propelled by electrons flowing through copper wires, that has a 0–60 of under four seconds and supposedly comes with no instrument cluster.

I preordered this vehicle with an invisible currency that was invented by a pseudo-anonymous computer programmer who calls himself Satoshi Nakamoto and is likely not Japanese.

I made this purchase using a service that dispenses ephemeral credit cards made by some Canadian guy that I met online named Jean, whom I met after placing a $400 bitcoin bounty for creating a Bitcoin payable API endpoint that could order and deliver me pizza upon payment. Weird.

Follow Mason @masonic_tweets.

Image credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock.com


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