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.

CoinDesk Insights
Apr 10, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:59 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.


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 /


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