MicroStrategy executive chairman Michael Saylor is making moves in the new year, setting the stage for what could be another big bet on Bitcoin (BTC) in 2024. Saylor has begun selling off $216 million worth of stock options in his business intelligence software firm MicroStrategy, with plans to use part of the proceeds to purchase more of the leading cryptocurrency, an asset he has long been a fierce advocate for.
The sell-off, disclosed in a filing with the SEC on January 2nd, will see Saylor liquidating 315,000 shares over the next four months. He first hinted at the stock sale during MicroStrategy’s Q3 earnings call back in November. It was then he told investors he intended to exercise soon-to-expire options dating from 2014.
While Saylor emphasized that his equity stake in MicroStrategy remains “significant,” he made clear his ambitions to grow his personal Bitcoin hoard. It’s a continuation of the crypto-focused strategy he has championed at MicroStrategy, which holds over 189,000 BTC worth some $8.5 billion.
Under Saylor’s leadership, MicroStrategy has aggressively snapped up Bitcoin when prices declined through 2022. And the software company reaped the rewards during last year’s crypto resurgence. MicroStrategy stock soared 400%, compared to Bitcoin’s 170% gains in 2022.
Now with Bitcoin ascending to start 2023, hovering near $17,000 presently, Saylor appears keen to double down. His planned stock sales come just weeks after MicroStrategy plunked down another $615 million to add 14,620 BTC last month.
Saylor has even argued that MicroStrategy will retain its appeal as a Bitcoin investment vehicle if US regulators approve long-awaited spot Bitcoin ETFs. With the company sitting on almost $8.5 billion in Bitcoin, shareholders have direct exposure to nearly 5% of Bitcoin’s circulating supply.
Of course, detractors will point to the risks of Saylor’s binary Bitcoin bet. If crypto sentiment sours, MicroStrategy stock could crater just as swiftly as it skyrocketed last year. For now, though, Saylor seems intent on selling the shovels in the latest Bitcoin gold rush rather than chasing the miners. And his moves in early 2023 signal an enduring faith that institutional and retail interest will continue flowing into crypto.
And he’s not the only one. Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, hasn’t seen such a positive start to a year since the beginning of 2021. Back then, prices shot up due to Americans spending COVID-19 stimulus cheques on crypto. Meanwhile, growing interest in digital currencies meant more people invested in digital assets than ever before.
This time round, focus has been on institutional interest in cryptocurrency. Specifically, the approval of several spot Bitcoin ETF applications being reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Industry observers are confident that many, if not all, will be approved by the SEC in early 2024.