The most vocal corporate proponent of bitcoin remains unbowed.
Michael Saylor is stepping down as CEO of Microstrategy, the business software company he founded, to become executive chairman. In his new role, Saylor said he will “focus more on our bitcoin acquisition strategy and related bitcoin advocacy initiatives.”
And despite a 42% drop in Microstrategy shares this year and a 50% drop in bitcoin, Saylor said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that he’s as “enthusiastic as ever” about the cryptocurrency being a strong, long-term store of value .
That’s even though bitcoin is rarely used in transactions.
“Do you need to move the asset for it to have value? No, absolutely not,” Saylor told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “For example, the property in Manhattan doesn’t need to move for it to have value. In fact, you’d prefer that Manhattan is built on granite or slate that doesn’t move for hundreds or millions of years. That makes the property more valuable. Bitcoin is.”
Saylor first spearheaded adding bitcoin to Microstrategy’s balance sheet in August 2020, becoming a prominent bitcoin evangelist via frequent interviews and his active Twitter feed. (A recent gem: “Bitcoin is a truth-seeking machine dressed up as a click-seeking machine.”)
Saylor also continued to buy on behalf of his company: Microstrategy now owns about 129,699 bitcoins, worth the firm $3.977 billion. The market value of those holdings as reported with Tuesday’s earnings was $2.451 billion.
Meanwhile, Microstrategy stock has risen about 132% since the company first sold debt to begin buying the cryptocurrency in August 2020, outperforming many other stocks and assets — including bitcoin itself.
But the firm’s underlying business had a less-than-stellar quarter, even excluding the cost of writing down the value of its bitcoin holdings. Revenue fell 3% to $122.1 million and billings missed consensus analysts’ estimates, which Brent Thill of Jefferies blamed on “continued underperformance.”
Brushing off the fact that stocks have fallen 75% since their February 9, 2021 record high, Saylor said: “If you’re a troll or a cynic and you pick two dates with a short enough time frame, you can find a period where every asset trades down. “
Regardless, there are certainly skeptics: As much as 39% of the company’s shares are sold short, meaning traders are betting they will fall.
When it comes to Manhattan real estate: the oldest single-family home in the city is for sale for $8.9 million — or about 389 bitcoins.
Julie Hyman is co-anchor of Yahoo Finance Live, weekdays 9am-11am ET. Follow her on Twitter @juleshymanand read her other stories.
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