Reddit user claiming to be Tesla insider now says bitcoin posts were not true

The power of social media users on forums such as Reddit’sWall Street Bets to band together and move prices has come into focus in recent weeks.

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A Reddit user who claimed in a post amonth ago to be a Tesla Inc insider and knew about theelectric car maker’s purchase of bitcoin said on Tuesday thathis assertions were not true.

The user’s original post Tesla was buying bitcoin drew little attention when itappeared Jan. 2. But it received a second look Wednesday, a dayafter the electric carmaker and its CEO Elon Musk disclosed a$1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency that sent bitcointo fresh highs.

Reuters could not independently verify the user’s identityor whether his initial or subsequent claims were accurate.

Tesla did not respond to an email to its press office.

“I am a software dev working at R&D at Tesla in California,over the past 72 hours our company bought 24701 BTC at anaverage price of 33142$,” the user with the handle TSLAinsiderposted on Reddit last month.

“I have no idea what will happen once this reaches thenewspapers but I think the price will explode even more,” theuser wrote.

“I told you so,” TSLAinsider wrote on Monday after the Teslanews on bitcoin. “I got laughed at and downvoted.”

The user told the New York Post late on Tuesday that he isin fact a prankster from Germany.

“If you want to know the truth: I am a young German guy andI was on Acid while I did this post in the last month,” the Postquoted him as saying. “I had this afflatus that Elon is going tobuy Bitcoin, so I created this trollpost.”

The user, who told the Post his name was Hendrik, toldReuters that the information in the New York Post article wascorrect.

Tesla said it started purchasing bitcoin in January. The NewYork Post added that with the timeline on the Reddit post, Teslawould have had to start buying bitcoin in late December.

Moderators in r/Tesla, a subreddit dedicated to posts on theelectric carmaker, previously appeared to remove the post was left up in r/bitcoin, where the cryptocurrency isdiscussed.

Reddit posters were revisiting the post on Tuesday in thelight of Tesla’s disclosure. “Thanks for the heads up Elon,”noted one poster, Valoured, on Tuesday. “Send me a PM (PrivateMessage) before you make your next move please.”

The power of social media users on forums such as Reddit’sWallStreetBets to band together and move prices has come intofocus in recent weeks, after a surge of retail buying helpedfuel wild rides in shares of GameStop Corp and otherso-called meme stocks.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week vowed toprotect investors, but said financial market regulators neededto fully understand the recent trading frenzy involving GameStopCorp and other retail stocks before taking any action.

Tesla said in its annual report published Monday that thedecision to move nearly 8% of its reserves into bitcoin was partof its broad investment policy as a company aimed atdiversifying and maximizing its returns on cash, includingholding gold.

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