(Bloomberg) -- MicroStrategy Inc. -- the enterprise software company that made waves by issuing debt to buy Bitcoin -- is looking for ways to generate yield on its massive digital-coin holdings.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Saylor discussed the strategy Thursday on the company’s investor day call with shareholders. The Bitcoin evangelist has been using cash flows from MicroStrategy’s main business to buy the cryptocurrency. It also issued two convertible bonds and a secured junk bond in addition to filing an equity shelf registration to raise money to acquire the digital coin. MicroStrategy now owns more than 122,000 tokens, worth in excess of $5.6 billion at current prices.
While Saylor said the company hasn’t taken any formal steps yet toward putting its Bitcoin cache to use, he added that “there may be opportunities to either put a mortgage against it and generate long-term debt under favorable circumstances, which we could leverage up against the Bitcoin, or we think that we could lend it to a trustworthy counterparty.”
Crypto-lending is a thriving business in the digital-asset world and a key part of the growing field of decentralized finance, where token holders often stake their positions in exchange for juicy yields. If a company like MicroStrategy, with Bitcoin on its balance sheet, were to lend out its holdings, that would add a new twist.
Once MicroStrategy finds that right fit -- whether with a big technology company, bank, or some other player -- Saylor said the company could lend out its Bitcoin, essentially putting a lien on the cryptocurrency, which he likened property. “That could become a good source of income for us, or we could develop it with some kind of interesting applications,” he said.
Saylor, in response to a question, also said he sees the possibility of a market developing to eventually issue bonds backed by Bitcoin. “I think that we’re still a little bit too soon to say whether there’s a good Bitcoin-backed bond market, but I look forward to exploring that in the future,” he said, adding that he would approach this kind of bond offering if it was accretive to shareholders.
In the meantime, MicroStrategy will continue to look at its existing options -- including equity issuance and corporate debt -- to keep buying more Bitcoin, Saylor said.
MicroStrategy shares were little changed at $566.50 on Friday at 11 a.m. New York time. They have gained 183% year to date, more than Bitcoin’s own 60% advance in the period. Among firms that cover the stock, BTIG LLC reiterated its buy rating on the shares following the investor day presentation. Its price target is $950, which assumes Bitcoin will reach $95,000 by the end of 2022, according to a report by analysts Mark Palmer and Andrew Harte.
MicroStrategy’s junk bond deal from June gave more traditional institutional investors an opportunity to gain exposure to Bitcoin while being protected from some downside thanks to being backed by the actual software business and the Bitcoin it was buying. Those bonds currently trade around par, or 100 cents on the dollar, according to Trace bond-pricing data.
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