Mar 31, 2023
MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin Bet is on Verge of Profitability Again
(Bloomberg) -- MicroStrategy Inc. co-founder and Executive Chairman Michael Saylor’s more-than $4 billion bet on Bitcoin is on the verge of turning profitable once again after the first quarter surge in the value of the original cryptocurrency.
Saylor first revealed that he was buying Bitcoin in August 2020, saying the digital currency was a better place to invest the enterprise software company’s cash than traditional staples such as short-term Treasuries because of the threat of rising inflation. Since then, Bitcoin has seen wide price fluctuations that have resulted in quarterly paper gains of as much as $3.1 billion and cumulative impairment charges of more than $2.1 billion for MicroStrategy. The company’s holdings have been underwater at the close of the last three quarters.
Bitcoin has increased about 73% in the three months ending Friday, the biggest quarterly gain in two years. The price tumbled 64% last year amid a series of industry scandals and bankruptcies. Bitcoin reached $29,171 on Wednesday, just below the Tysons Corner, Virginia-based company’s average purchase price of $29,817.
MicroStrategy may avoid having to take an impairment charge to write down the value of its holdings for the first time in 10 quarters. By year-end, the company had written off about 50% of its Bitcoin investment.
Saylor’s decision to make the acquisition of Bitcoin part of the company’s strategic focus has made the slow-growing software maker a popular proxy for investing in crypto. The company’s shares have more than doubled since August 2020, significantly outperforming the benchmark S&P 500 index’s roughly 16% gain during the same period.
Despite the volatility in the shares and the price of Bitcoin, Saylor has upped his bet on the cryptocurrency. The company even borrowed money from the now failed crypto-friendly bank Silvergate to fund its Bitcoin purchases.
MicroStrategy announced Monday that it bought $150 million more of the cryptocurrency and paid off the remainder of its $205 million loan partly backed by its Bitcoin through the selling of shares. The latest purchase of 6,455 tokens from Feb. 16 through March 23 was the largest acquisition by the company since April 2022.
The Bloomberg US Treasury Bill Index shows that short-term US government securities have returned about 2.5% since Saylor first announced his Bitcoin buying in August 2020.
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