“If you name someone’s risks they take, and they’re otherwise healthy, you could be accused of creating a run in the bank or being a troll,” said Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, a software company that has a large reputation. Bitcoin reserve built up. “It’s quite difficult to explain this theoretically before the crash happens. But now it has happened.”
In 2020, Mr. Saylor announced that MicroStrategy would begin stockpiling Bitcoin because it had “more long-term valuation potential than holding cash.” At the end of June, the company had bought 129,699 Bitcoin for just under $4 billion, according to SEC deposits. (With Bitcoin’s recent decline in value, that stock is now worth about $1 billion less than what MicroStrategy paid for it.)
At the height of the crash, MicroStrategy spent $10 million on 480 Bitcoin, even as the price per coin dropped to around $20,000. The purchase was the smallest MicroStrategy had made in more than a year. Mr Saylor said the size of the purchase was not an indication that he lacked confidence in the currency; it was the maximum the company could afford, he said, given the money available.
“I always wish we could buy more,” he said. “It’s frustrating.”
Saylor and other maxis have sometimes complained that Bitcoin is poorly represented in Washington, where lawmakers have expressed growing concern about the cryptocurrency’s environmental impact.
Some crypto lawyers in Washington are funded by companies that offer virtual currencies built on an alternative authentication system, which takes less energy to maintain. In April, Chris Larsen, a billionaire who co-founded the cryptocurrency company Ripple, announced that he was contributing $5 million to a marketing campaign calling for Bitcoin to give up its energy-guzzling mining infrastructure, which proponents say is vital to keeping the network safe and equitable.
Now Bitcoin supporters are building their own political apparatus. This year, David Zell, a Bitcoin attorney, started the Bitcoin Policy Institute, a think tank pushing a pro-Bitcoin agenda in Washington. The institute has argued that concerns about Bitcoin’s energy consumption are exaggerated.