Leading up to his debut Saturday Night Live performance on Saturday, Elon Musk has spent weeks plugging Dogecoin, the joke cryptocurrency named for a meme about a talking dog with bad grammar, in an apparent bid to boost the coin’s popularity.
But early Friday morning, Musk pivoted from promotion to circumspection. In a tweet sent at 12:24 a.m., the Tesla CEO quote tweeted a TMZ video titled “Elon Musk Says Dogecoin Could be the Future of Cryptocurrency.” In the caption, he warned followers to be careful with their cash. “Cryptocurrency is promising,” he wrote, “but please invest with caution!”
The tweet came after a week of investor enthusiasm for the meme coin, which sent the price surging to a record high of $0.68 on Wednesday. It rose to the fourth-most valuable cryptocurrency on the market, according to Forbes.
Musk’s comment marked something of an about-face for the usually bullish Dogecoin fan. In late April, he’d plugged the SNL appearance with a reference to the coin, tweeting “The Dogefather / SNL May 8.”
But just hours after advising restraint, Musk doubled down on Dogecoin promo, replying to a picture of a Shiba Inu, the breed of dog referenced in the meme. He tweeted: “I’m looking for a shiba pup!”
Musk has previously paid lip service to investor caution on crypto. In the February 2021 TMZ interview he tweeted out, Musk had mused that there was “a good chance that crypto is the future currency of Earth,” but noted that it would be “unwise” to invest life savings in the highly unstable asset.
That disclaimer arrived on the heels of a Tesla SEC filing, which revealed that the electric car company had invested roughly $1.5 billion in Bitcoin. Not long after the filing, Tesla announced that it planned to start accepting Bitcoin as payment.
Musk’s public endorsements of cryptocurrencies have angered some financial experts. In an interview with CoinDesk not long after the SEC filing, economist Nouriel Roubini called on the SEC to investigate Musk for market manipulation. Elon Musk “knows he has the market impact to manipulate, first take an individual position in Bitcoin, pump the price up, and then say that Tesla has invested,” Roubini told CoinDesk. It’s “irresponsible, and it's market manipulation. The SEC should be looking into people that have a market impact, and that manipulate the price of assets. That's also criminal behavior."