Renowned economist Nouriel Roubini has accused Tesla CEO Elon Musk of manipulating the Bitcoin market through his activity on social media platform Twitter.
Roubini’s comments came during an interview with CoinDesk in which he also said Musk should be investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
This was in light of the Tesla CEO updating his Twitter bio with “#Bitcoin” and tweeting “In retrospect it was inevitable” before the company’s announcement that it had bought $1.5 billion of the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency.
Musk’s bio change and tweet led to a surge of as much as 15% in Bitcoin’s value.
Roubini said that Musk had taken an individual position in Bitcoin, pumped the price up, and then Tesla announced its investment.
According to him, these actions were irresponsible and constituted market manipulation.
“The SEC should be looking into people that have a market impact that manipulate the price of assets. That’s also criminal behaviour,” Roubini stated.
Musk was previously sued by the SEC after tweeting that he had enough funding to take Tesla private, which boosted the carmakers’ shares by as much as 13.3%. The commission claimed this announcement violated securities laws.
Musk later reached an agreement with the SEC which included that he would submit public statements about the company’s finances to vetting by the commission’s legal counsel.
More experts weigh in
Roubini is not the only pundit who believes Musk’s tweets could be in violation of the SEC’s regulations.
The European Central Bank’s former vice president Vitor Constâncio has tweeted that the SEC would be looking into this matter.
“It was not disclosed when Tesla had made this investment. In December, Musk said that Tesla could buy Bitcoin, and this was followed by many statements that he supported Bitcoin. Bitcoin kept going up and Tesla investment has appreciated,” Constâncio stated.
Former branch chief of the SEC’s enforcement division Doug Davison also told The Telegraph that “it would not be surprising given the focus on the chief executive’s Tweets, Bitcoin pricing and recent dramatic market moves-for the SEC to ask questions about the facts and circumstances here”.
Musk’s tweets and comments of support for Bitcoin has had a substantial positive impact on its price on multiple occasions.
He has also propelled the meme-inspired alt-coin Dogecoin to record levels.
In one instance, Musk only alluded to the cryptocurrency by tweeting “Who let the Doge out”, resulting in a 53% surge in 24 hours.