The last word from a bitcoin whale at the helm
Michael Saylor would especially like to be remembered for his contribution to society As an educator, the CEO tells Axios about his final days leading the software company he co-founded in the 1980s.
The big picture: But what stands out in Saylor’s 33-year tenure as head of MicroStrategy is his $4 billion bet on bitcoin that began with a big purchase in August 2020 – the largest bitcoin acquisition by a publicly traded company at the time.
- “Nobody had the cojones to buy $250 million worth of bitcoins in cash,” he admits.
why is it important: The strategy opened the backdoor for traditional companies to gain exposure to bitcoin as MicroStrategy began issuing corporate debt and taking out loans to buy more bitcoin. He now has 129,699 of them.
- The more Bitcoin MicroStrategy bought, the more its stock began to move in tandem with the world’s largest digital asset. (Great for stockholders when bitcoin prices were just going up; not so hot right now.)
Catch up fast: Saylor announced this week that he was removing his CEO title, eclipsing the company’s $1 billion net loss in the second quarter, largely due to his bitcoin holdings.
The context: Along with MicroStrategy’s bitcoin transformation, Saylor has also transformed from the relatively obscure head of a software company that the average person never interacts with, to bitcoin evangelist.
- Saylor changed her Twitter profile picture to feature laser eyes shortly after MicroStrategy’s bitcoin bet and its stream now reads like the conscious ramblings of a bitcoin maximalist. He now has 2.6 million followers.
- Buying bitcoins also brought further examination.
What they say: MicroStrategy has posted losses in seven of the eight quarters since the company started buying bitcoin, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article Noted.
The other side: “[The article] suggests I made a big bet and lost and now I’m forced out of the CEO job,” Saylor said.
- “There’s really no truth to that. I’m still the chairman and overseer of the investment committee for the bitcoin strategy, and I’m the company’s majority shareholder,” he said. “I’m still employed.”
- Saylor also contradicts MicroStrategy’s stock performance at that time, saying the stock rose from around $120 per share to a high of over $1,000.
- Yes, but: Since the Bitcoin swoon, shares have fallen to around $313.
Saylor is on the defensive when people criticize the bitcoin strategy, but seem to appreciate it when people laugh at him for what he thought of bitcoin.
- “I famously tweeted something like ‘bitcoin will be regulated. People still make fun of me for that,” he said with a laugh.
- The actual tweet of December 2013 was: “The days of #Bitcoin are numbered. It seems only a matter of time before it suffers the same fate as online gambling.”
- “I lived to disagree with myself. Everyone rejects bitcoin the first time they hear about it,” he said. “I went from cynical, skeptical, trader, technocrat and finally to maxi.”
And after: Beyond MicroStrategy: “If I look at my importance in the world right now. Clearly my importance is to be a spokesperson and advocate for digital property rights.”
- Saylor boasts a podcast he did it with Lex Fridman which got over 3.8 million views.
- “When you calculate what it means to speak to 3.8 million people, it’s like having 10,000 people in your room listening to you every hour for who knows how many hours,” he said. . “There’s more communication in this podcast than any meeting I’ve had in my entire life, to date.”
The bottom line“In my new role as Executive Chairman, I can champion bitcoin and be an emissary to the bitcoin community and engage more in the discourse. Change my life for the better,” he said.