Michael Saylor, chief executive of enterprise software maker MicroStrategy Inc. and noted Bitcoin proselytizer, spoke to dozens of members of the Economic Club of New York on Monday about the merits of the world’s largest digital asset, especially in the face of sharply rising inflation.
Most mainstream economists have been slow to embrace Bitcoin, questioning the claims of advocates that the cryptocurrency serves as a store of value as well as an inflation hedge.
The software entrepreneur explained how when the company was faced with the “fast death” that the technology industry promised, the “slow death” that expanding monetary supply presented, and taking a risk with Bitcoin, he chose the latter, because of the property-like values that the cryptocurrency exhibited. Saylor spoke just days before the Federal Reserve is forecast to raise interest rates for the first time in two years.
The problem with gold, traditionally considered an inflation hedge, is that one can’t “develop” or “rent” it like one can with real estate, Saylor said. “Real estate is a better idea,” he said, comparing Bitcoin to property. “If your grandmother or grandfather was smart enough to buy New York City real estate and it’s still in the family, you’re probably doing OK.”
“If I take an entire business school education and boil it down into one sentence, it’s ‘keep your options open,” Saylor said.
Saylor also argued that Bitcoin was superior to gold in that, one could charge rent on it or what the industry calls “staking” and was transportable, in the event of geopolitical crises. Saylor posed a rhetorical question to the audience: What if there’s a war and what if you own a building in Kyiv or Moscow right now?
“If your property is not safe out of your country and it’s not safe in your country, where can you go?” Saylor said. “The answer is cyberspace. Bitcoin is the American dream.”
Shares of MicroStrategy have jumped about 150% since it became the first public company to invest the lion’s share of its treasury in Bitcoin in August 2020. During the same period, Bitcoin’s price has fluctuated wildly while still having more than tripled in value.
Meanwhile, the days since the enterprise software company added to its stockpile of Bitcoin are adding up. It has now been 43 days since its last purchase on Feb 1. Only three times since MicroStrategy started buying Bitcoin, has the company gone longer without announcing a purchase and those periods were all in times of rising prices.