MicroStrategy’s Saylor gives up CEO title to focus on Bitcoin after $1 billion loss

(Kitco News) MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor is dropping his CEO title as he shifts gears to focus on Bitcoin after his company reported a $1 billion loss after crypto’s massive Q2 crash.

Saylor will remain as executive chairman of MicroStrategy, and MicroStrategy’s president Phong Le will assume the CEO role. The official change will happen on August 8.

“In my next job, I intend to focus more on Bitcoin,” Saylor tweeted Wednesday.

Because of Saylor, MicroStrategy was the first publicly traded company to adopt bitcoin as its primary treasury reserve asset. The company began to buy Bitcoin in the summer of 2020, with Saylor stating that the cryptocurrency is an excellent hedge against inflation.

Saylor clarified that in his new role, he wants to focus on long-term corporate strategy as he provides oversight of the company’s bitcoin acquisitions.

“I believe that splitting the roles of Chairman and CEO will enable us to better pursue our two corporate strategies of acquiring and holding bitcoin and growing our enterprise analytics software business. As Executive Chairman I will be able to focus more on our bitcoin acquisition strategy and related bitcoin advocacy initiatives, while Phong will be empowered as CEO to manage overall corporate operations,” Saylor said in a press release.

The announcement came at the same time as the release of the Q2 results, with MicroStrategy reporting a net loss of $1.062 billion. “Digital asset impairment charges of $917.8 million and $424.8 million for the second quarter of 2022 and 2021, respectively, were reflected in these amounts,” according to the press release.

At the end of June, MicroStrategy had approximately 129,699 bitcoins, with a carrying value of $1.988 billion, which reflected the impairment loss of $1.989 billion.

Bitcoin saw dramatic losses in the second quarter, falling 59%. And MicroStrategy had a $917.8 million impairment charge related to the price drop.

“As of June 30, 2022, the original cost basis and market value of MicroStrategy’s bitcoin were $3.977 billion and $2.451 billion, respectively, which reflects an average cost per bitcoin of approximately $30,664 and a market price per bitcoin of $18,895.02, respectively,” the company added.

MicroStrategy’s revenue dropped to $122.1 million in Q2, down 2.6%. Also, operating expenses rose 96.5% from a year ago and were $1.015 billion.

Some are skeptical of Saylor’s commitment to Bitcoin and the role the cryptocurrency plays within the company’s balance sheet.

“The Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb criticized MicroStrategy’s approach on Twitter.

“When you spend your life in finance, you know that in a corporate announcement, the only thing that matter is the announcement, not the details. You don’t get randomly transferred,” Taleb tweeted. “How much of 120K BTC will they *have to* sell? Another nail in the coffin to the “we’ll never sell.”

Over the weekend, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin referred to Saylor as a “total clown” after Saylor described Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, as “inherently unethical.”

Buterin tweeted Sunday: “Why do maximalists keep picking heroes that turn out to be total clowns?”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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