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'Bitcoin is that': Michael Saylor compares HODLing to owning land in Manhattan

Yahoo Finance US logo Yahoo Finance US 8/4/2022 Julie Hyman

The most vocal corporate advocate of bitcoin remains unbowed.

Michael Saylor is stepping down as chief executive officer 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% slide in Microstrategy shares this year and a 50% tumble in bitcoin, Saylor said in an interview with Yahoo Finance he is as “enthusiastic as ever” that the cryptocurrency is a strong, long-term store of value.

That’s even if 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 have to move for it to have value. In fact, you would prefer that Manhattan be built on granite or schist that doesn’t move for hundreds or millions of years. It makes the property more valuable. Bitcoin is that.”

A woman poses for a photographer on one of the transparent floors above the New York City skyline during the official opening of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt observation deck atop the new One Vanderbilt tower in midtown Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar © Provided by Yahoo Finance US A woman poses for a photographer on one of the transparent floors above the New York City skyline during the official opening of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt observation deck atop the new One Vanderbilt tower in midtown Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Saylor first spearheaded the push to add bitcoin to Microstrategy’s balance sheet in August 2020, becoming a prominent bitcoin evangelist via frequent interviews and his active Twitter feed. (A recent pearl: “Bitcoin is a truth-seeking machine dressed up as a click-seeking machine.”)

Saylor also kept buying on behalf of his company: Microstrategy now owns about 129,699 bitcoins at a cost the firm $3.977 billion. The market value of these holdings as reported with Tuesday’s earnings stood at $2.451 billion.

At the same time, Microstrategy stock has risen some 132% since the company first sold debt to start buying the cryptocurrency in August of 2020, outperforming many other stocks and assets — including bitcoin itself.

But the firm’s underlying business had a less-than-stellar quarter, even aside from the charges it took to write down the value of its bitcoin holdings. Revenue fell 3% to $122.1 million, and billings missed consensus analyst estimates, which Brent Thill of Jefferies blamed on “continued subpar execution.”

Saylor brushed aside the the fact that the shares have fallen 75% since their record high on February 9, 2021, stating: “If you’re a troll or a cynic and you pick any two dates with a short enough time frame, you can find a period during which every asset traded down.”

In any case, there are certainly skeptics: A whopping 39% of the company’s shares are sold short, meaning traders are betting they will fall.

As for Manhattan real estate: the oldest single-family home in the city is on sale for $8.9 million — or roughly 389 bitcoins.

Julie Hyman is the co-anchor of Yahoo Finance Live, weekdays 9am-11am ET. Follow her on Twitter @juleshyman, and read her other stories.

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