When Tesla Inc. joined the S&P 500, people baulked. Wasn’t that a lot of volatility to embed in the world’s most important stock index? Turns out they had only part of the picture.

Founder Elon Musk opened a new chapter in the saga of his electric-vehicle maker with a disclosure Monday that Tesla invested US$1.5 billion in Bitcoin and intends to begin accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment. The move comes less than two months after the company was added to the S&P 500 in the index’s largest-ever inclusion.

For anyone who worried Tesla’s high price and share turbulence was an issue for passive investors, this is something new to consider. Tesla is one of the S&P 500’s biggest members with a weighting of almost 2%, meaning at least a dollop of the roughly US$11.2 trillion of money tracking the benchmark is now exposed to a cryptocurrency known for its wild swings.

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