Exodus Top 10 Most Influential People in Crypto: Michael Saylor
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As the CEO of MicroStrategy and a regular tweeter with over 1.5 million followers, Michael Saylor is one of the world’s most prominent Bitcoin advocates. Saylor has appeared on dozens of podcasts, given interviews to respected publications like Time Magazine and has appeared on popular television programs like CNBC’s Fast Money segment.
In addition to his Bitcoin advocacy, Michael Saylor and his company MicroStrategy played a key role in jumpstarting the latest crypto bull market by converting their cash to BTC. For these reasons and more, we’ve chosen Michael Saylor as the 5th most influential person in our Exodus top 10 most influential people in crypto series.
The Next Bull Market
If you’ve been in crypto for a while you know it well, the 2018 and 2019 bear market was brutal. One of the most painful moments happened when BTC finally broke $6k and quickly tumbled to $3,100. Sentiment in the crypto ecosystem was dismal and one of the most discussed questions was: what’s going to cause the crypto ecosystem to recover?
Retail traders and investors drove most of the crypto market through 2017. There were a few crypto funds stacking BTC and the most prominent altcoins, however, by and large it was individuals doing the buying.
Once the 2018 bear market hit though, the most astute market participants pointed out that small-time investors wouldn’t drive the next bull market. Retail could get us to $20,000 BTC, but didn’t have the financial clout to get us to $200,000 BTC. Thus began the speculation, about which large buyers would drive the next bull market.
One popular opinion was that central banks would buy Bitcoin. Many central banks already own gold and it seemed like a logical next step that some of them would buy Bitcoin. However, so far that’s yet to happen. No central bank has added Bitcoin to its balance sheet. Instead, Michael Saylor kicked off the new bull market when he announced that MicroStrategy was converting $250 million of its cash reserves into Bitcoin.
Until 1954 nobody had ever run a 4 minute mile. Many people thought it was impossible and because of that common belief nobody seriously tried to break the barrier. Then Roger Bannister did it. Bannister’s record-breaking run proved that a 4 minute mile was possible, and shortly thereafter dozens of other athletes followed in his footsteps. Everyone was waiting for someone else to do it first.
For all the talk about central banks and governments, nobody had considered that a publicly listed corporation could buy Bitcoin, until Michael Saylor did it. Under Michael Saylor’s leadership, MicroStrategy did it first, which is what makes Saylor so influential. He used his majority voting rights at MicroStrategy to pursue a brand new strategy that many others have subsequently followed.
Michael Saylor’s Case for Bitcoin
Michael Saylor believes in Bitcoin, but why? In an interview for Time, Saylor was asked whether betting so much of MicroStrategy’s money on Bitcoin was a gamble. According to Saylor,
“No, it’s the opposite. It’s a textbook example of a rational action in response to monetary inflation. Can we agree that the money supply is expanding in an unprecedented fashion the past 12 months everywhere in the world? If you’re going to make a rational investment decision today, whether you’re a real estate investor, a stock investor, a bond investor, or just a wage earner or you’re a treasurer, you have to estimate the rate of monetary expansion for the next eight years. We know there’s a commitment to run deficits, and we know this commitment to stimulus.”
Against this backdrop of monetary inflation, Saylor believes that Bitcoin is the best store of value. “So now the issue is, What’s a rational behavior? I’ve got to find a store of value. - Bitcoin is not speculation, O.K.? Bitcoin is a unique new technology, it’s like the Facebook of money or the Google of money. And it grew from nothing to a trillion dollars in monetary value in 12 years.”
When asked how he sees Bitcoin Saylor replied, "It's digital gold on a big tech network. - Bitcoin is the highest, most dominant, digital property network.”
Saylor goes on to state his belief that billions of people are eventually going to use Bitcoin. It’s a logical conclusion, given that crypto is getting adopted even faster than the internet was, two decades ago. As central banks print their currencies into oblivion, and people wake up to the hidden theft of inflation, they’re going to search for ways to preserve the purchasing power of their money.
According to Michael Saylor Bitcoin, not gold, is the best solution. Given his belief about Bitcoin’s future as the world’s most efficient inflation hedge, it makes sense that Saylor continues to add even more BTC to MicroStrategy’s balance sheet.
MicroStrategy Keeps Buying
MicroStrategy has bought so much Bitcoin that they’ve essentially turned their stock, MSTR, into a backdoor Bitcoin ETF. This useful chart shows MicroStrategy’s BTC purchases from early 2021 alone.
The chart doesn’t even include a $489 million dollar purchase of 13,005 BTC from June 21st. This purchase pushed MicroStrategy’s cumulative holdings over 100,000 BTC. At current market prices, MicroStrategy is holding about $5 billion worth of Bitcoin, compared to an annual revenue of $480 million in 2020. Clearly the Bitcoin position well-exceeds the company’s other business interests, and accounts for why MSTR has rallied 394% in the last year.
As Michael Saylor must be aware, MicroStrategy has bought so much Bitcoin that there’s almost no middle ground left. These purchases will make MicroStrategy one of the most cash-rich businesses in the world, or if Bitcoin fails for whatever reason, the company could face financial ruin.
So far all signs are pointing towards the bullish case. Bitcoin is going strong and it appears that the most likely outcome is that Michael Saylor is going to look like a prophetic genius in ten years. MicroStrategy’s average Bitcoin buy price is $26,080 per coin, compared to the current market price of $50,100. That’s just about a 100% gain and it’s likely that the Bitcoin bull market hasn’t even peaked yet.
A Vision for the Future
In early 2021, MicroStrategy held "Bitcoin for Corporations", a digital conference that brought together executives from over 1000 different firms, to discuss the various benefits and strategies for integrating Bitcoin into a business. This event, and the subsequent educational materials that have come from it, undoubtedly led to a small spike in Bitcoin adoption across the corporate world.
Near the end of the Time interview the reporter Eben Shapiro asked Michael Saylor, “It’s a little early to talk about history, but what so far is your legacy?”
Saylor replied, “We are the first public company to actually adopt Bitcoin as a treasury reserve asset, to legitimize the asset class as an institutional-grade safe-haven asset.”
Reading between the lines, it seems that a legacy of corporate innovation is what Michael Saylor would like to be known for, and it’s becoming increasingly likely it’s what he will be known for.
So long as Bitcoin continues to thrive, MicroStrategy will continue to be a key part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and Michael Saylor will be known as the CEO who made a big bet on the future and got it right.
Top 10 Most Influential People in Crypto, the countdown:
10 - Vinny Lingham
9 - Kathleen Breitman
8 - Gavin Wood
7 - Elizabeth Stark
6 - Andre Cronje
5 - Michael Saylor
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.