Michael Saylor Bullish on Promise of Crypto Regulation

MicroStrategy’s CEO calls US Treasury Secretary’s speech on digital assets last week a “green light” for the crypto economy


MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor | Blockworks exclusive art by axel rangel


key takeaways

  • “We’re running our business to be an intelligently levered spot bitcoin ETF,” Saylor said during the Exchange ETF conference
  • The price of a bitcoin could hit $10 million or beyond, the CEO said

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor called US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s recent address on digital assets “probably the single-most important speech of the 21st century.”

Yellen discussed regulation around digital assets during an event last week at American University in Washington, D.C, noting that risk-managed innovation “should be embraced” and calling for “tech neutral” regulation. 

The talk came just weeks after President Joe Biden signed an executive order urging government agencies to work together to study the “responsible development” of digital assets.

“That’s a green light to the entire economy,” Saylor said Tuesday during a panel at the Exchange ETF conference in Miami Beach. “All of the people who thought [bitcoin] was a Ponzi scheme are getting silenced. All the people that said it’s perfect and too good to be true, so the government will take it away from me, they’re getting silenced.”

MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor (right) during a panel at the Exchange ETF conference in Miami | Source: Ben Strack for Blockworks

Saylor has been one of bitcoin’s most outspoken advocates, and MicroStrategy is among the world’s largest publicly traded corporate owners of bitcoin.

The CEO tweeted earlier this month that his company bought an additional 4,167 bitcoins for roughly $190 million — an average price of about $45,700. MicroStrategy held 129,218 bitcoins as of April 4, purchased for nearly $4 billion. 

The buy came after MicroStrategy subsidiary MacroStrategy last month obtained a $205 million loan from Silvergate Bank, allowing the company to buy more bitcoin. 

Saylor had said during a Feb. 1 earnings call about 110,000 of the company’s bitcoins were not pledged as collateral and could be used to generate yield or to leverage.

“We’re running our business to be an intelligently levered spot bitcoin ETF that generates tax-free yield for people that want to be in that kind of security,” he said during the conference.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not yet permitted a spot bitcoin ETF to come to market. Saylor said that though the approval of such a product could be a year or two away, he thinks there’s “a more than 50% chance” that Grayscale Investments has “the inside track” and gains approval first. The SEC is set to rule on Grayscale’s proposal to convert its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to an ETF in July.  

Saylor said that bitcoin could disrupt the commercial real estate market as people use the asset as an alternative store of value to a second home, taking bitcoin’s market capitalization as high as $100 trillion. 

Bitcoin’s market cap was roughly $750 billion on Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Blockworks.   

The asset can also begin to “demonetize” sovereign bonds as investors search for yield, Saylor added.  

“A maximalist would look at it and say the first stop is $500,000 a coin, the next stop is $5 million a coin and the next stop is $10 million or beyond because we expect it to totally turn the paradigm of money and technology upside down,” Saylor said. “Bitcoin’s the foundation of the 21st century cyber economy.” 

Saylor shared the stage with Frank Holmes, executive chairman of HIVE Blockchain Technologies, and the two compared and contrasted bitcoin to gold.

Gold “will always be there,” Holmes said, but noted that millennials and certain “sophisticated” older investors are shifting from gold to bitcoin.

Saylor agreed that gold will continue to be a non-sovereign store of value for certain investors.

“There’s a lot of 20th century things that were built and I like. I’ve got a silver belt buckle and I’ll be keeping it,” the MicroStrategy CEO said. “But you’re not going to make billions and tens of billions and hundreds of billions of dollars off of 20th century ideas; you’re just going to live comfortably off of them. It’s the 21st century ideas that are going to turn the world upside down.”

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