Say hello to Michael Saylor, MicroStrategy’s ultra-bullish Bitcoin ambassador. As CEO of the publicly traded enterprise software company, Saylor isn’t your run-of-the-mill, suit-and-tie, boardroom bore.
Saylor is an entrepreneur, a radical dreamer, a historian, a philosopher — and he’s betting big on Bitcoin.
Born in 1965, Saylor found success early with MicroStrategy, a company he co-founded straight out of MIT. But he didn’t just stop at software. He turned his eagle eye to Bitcoin, making MicroStrategy the first major company to replace significant cash reserves with Bitcoin.
Saylor’s belief in Bitcoin is so strong, it might as well be etched into the blockchain. He sees it as digital gold, a safe haven in the volatile landscape of global finance. To him, Bitcoin isn’t just some fad, it’s a currency that’s not only here to stay, but will someday replace reserve bank currency.
To Saylor, Bitcoin’s potential is limitless, and its value is immeasurable. Saylor is putting his money where his mouth is and has led MicroStrategy deeper into the Bitcoin realm.
What Does Michael Saylor Think About Bitcoin?
Bitcoin’s Knight in Corporate Armor
If you want a ringside seat to the Bitcoin revolution, look no further than Michael Saylor’s commentary.
This Bitcoin billionaire isn’t just a spectator; he’s an enthusiastic participant, throwing punchy sound bites into the Bitcoin sphere like a heavyweight champ.
But he wasn’t always this way. In 2013, in a now-deleted (and deeply regretted) tweet, Saylor compared the fate of Bitcoin to online gambling:
“#Bitcoin days are numbered. It seems like just a matter of time before it suffers the same fate as online gambling.”
Bitcoin Is A Million Times Better Than Gold
Circa July 2020, Saylor had changed his tune, and although he was still fresh to the Bitcoin game, his early insights were anything but naive. During a YouTube interview with Raoul Pal, CEO of Real Vision, he confidently stated:
Bitcoin, if it’s not a hundred times better than gold, it is a million times better than gold, and there is nothing close to it.
Quite a statement, coming from a man who was only just dipping his toes into the Bitcoin pool.
By September 2020, Saylor had evolved from a curious onlooker to a full-fledged Bitcoin HODLer.
His Twitter account, a testament to his deep dive into the Bitcoin universe, was ablaze with his prophetic declarations. Among them was this famously imaginative gem:
“Bitcoin is a swarm of cyber hornets serving the goddess of wisdom, feeding on the fire of truth, exponentially growing ever smarter, faster, and stronger behind a wall of encrypted energy.”Michael Saylor on Bitcoin
As 2020 rolled by, Saylor’s Bitcoin fervor was hotter than a mining rig in the East Texas sun, and while we’re on the subject of mining, Saylor offered commentary in regard to Bitcoin energy consumption.
Among the controversial topics that caught Saylor’s attention was Bitcoin’s notorious energy consumption. For many, it’s a sticking point, however In November, during a SALT interview, Saylor proclaimed:
…at the end of the day, Bitcoin is something like a million times more efficient from an energy point of view than moving your money around in gold or by trying to store it in Fort Knox. If you look at all the inefficiencies of all of the other traditional financial approaches, none of them are so efficient as to what Bitcoin does.
And, if you thought he might cool down, think again. By February 2021, he was singing Bitcoin’s praises once more in an interview with Nomad Capitalist:
Gold is dead money. Sell your gold, buy Bitcoin because other people are going to sell their gold and if you wait until you’ve been front-run by all the hedge funds when they dump their gold, you’re going to be the last person out. I think gold is getting demonetized
Finally, in June of 2022, seemingly taking on the World Economic Forum’s 2016 rather famous predictions of us all having nothing and being happy, Saylor tweeted:
Saylor’s message is clear: Bitcoin isn’t just the future, it’s the now. And if you’re not on board, you’re missing out on the digital gold rush of our era.
Corporate Bitcoin Adoption
Possibly the main aspect of Michael Saylor’s big push for bitcoin is that of bitcoin adoption for the corporate world. The starting point for his own company, Microstrategy, adoption a bitcoin standard for their corporate balance sheet started in 2020 when he was looking for way to maximize shareholder value.
He had a problem – his company had “too much money”. Though it may seem like a non-issue, when you consider how to preserve the purchasing power of your money over time, you have an interesting set of choices.
You could leave it in “safe” cash or US treasuries, but they’ll yield less return than inflation, brining Saylor’s now-famous melting ice cube analogy comes to mind. Your purchasing power will slowly be eroded away while your money sits in a bank account.
Bitcoin Investment Was Born Out Of Necessity
All forms of investment carry their own risks and drawback. So where was he supposed to turn to safely store the money his company had worked so hard to earn? Enter bitcoin: a global, digital money that cannot be debased and will survive longer than any currency, company, or even country.
Saylor has not only followed through with this strategy for his company, but for himself as well, and has disclosed that he owns several thousand bitcoin himself. His strategy has seemed to influencer several other high profile CEOs such as like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, who also own bitcoin on their company balance sheets as well as among their personal assets.
No doubt other bitcoin proponents such as Richard Branson, Balaji Srinivasan, or Chamath Palihapitiya control a certain amount of bitcoin for themselves, but it has yet to be seen if they’ll adopt a bitcoin standard for their companies as well. With the recent spat of bank runs, and considering that FDIC insurance only covers $250,000, we may see broader corporate bitcoin adoption in the coming year.
Bitcoin Is Money, And Money Is Energy
If there’s a Bitcoin version of the Doomsday Clock, Saylor isn’t losing sleep over it, however back in 2013 he did resign Bitcoin to the same fate as online gambling.
So, is Bitcoin really dying? Short answer: no, and it’s not going to anytime soon (or ever), and here’s why:
Initially, let’s examine the robust Bitcoin network. It’s a dynamic, globally-distributed entity operating on a peer-to-peer basis, facilitating thousands of transactions per block.
The network’s strength lies in its decentralized nature, making it resistant to single points of failure. Furthermore, its resilience and robustness improve with each block added to the blockchain, contributing to a complex tapestry of cryptographic proof and consensus.
Video: Channeling Monetary Energy Across Time And Space
Next, consider Bitcoin’s borderless fluidity. Like the unstoppable flow of information in the digital age, Bitcoin transcends geopolitical boundaries. Its decentralized structure, along with the pseudonymous features it provides, ensures that any attempts to halt its flow would be as futile as trying to dam a river with a net.
Moreover, Bitcoin’s economic appeal cannot be understated. Countries keen on fostering innovation and attracting foreign direct investment are increasingly recognizing the value of blockchain technology and Bitcoin.
As such, they’re unlikely to suppress an industry ripe with potential for economic growth and technological advancement.
Looking at Bitcoin’s seizure-resistant properties, one must appreciate the brilliance of its decentralized architecture. The absence of a central authority makes mass confiscation nearly impossible.
Video: Bitcoin Changes The Logic of Violence
Bitcoin stored in cryptographically-secure digital wallets, can only be accessed with the corresponding private keys, granting owners an unprecedented level of financial sovereignty.
Lastly, let’s tackle the concept of Bitcoin scarcity. With a hard cap of 21 million coins, Bitcoin’s coded scarcity mimics the finite supply of gold, making it a ‘digital gold’ of sorts.
This built-in scarcity, combined with a high degree of liquidity afforded by numerous exchanges, gives Bitcoin an edge in terms of a store of value and medium of exchange. Bitcoin’s market dominance and network effects further ensure its position won’t easily be usurped by alternative coins.
Bitcoin vs Gold
Few things have ignited debates in the financial world as fiercely as the Bitcoin versus Gold argument.
Michael Saylor, with his characteristic flair, has unabashedly thrown his weight behind Bitcoin, declaring it a superior asset. But is Bitcoin really the new gold? Let’s sift through the glitter and find the truth.
At first glance, Bitcoin and gold share a fundamental trait: scarcity. As the law of supply and demand dictates, the limited availability of both assets naturally drives their prices up.
Both gold, with its physical applications in electronics and jewelry, and Bitcoin, with its potential for peer-to-peer transactions and international remittances, offer real-world utility.
Bitcoin Is Digital Money
But here’s where Saylor believes Bitcoin pulls ahead. For starters, Bitcoin’s digital nature makes it more transportable than gold.
A private key, a string of characters, can represent a million dollars in Bitcoin just as easily as it can represent a cent. You can send it across the globe in a matter of minutes. Just try and do that with a gold bar.
Next, consider divisibility. Bitcoin can be split into a hundred million parts (Satoshis). Gold, while divisible, cannot be practically or economically transacted in small fractions. You can’t exactly shave off a piece of a gold bar to buy a cup of coffee.
When it comes to security, Bitcoin again takes the lead. While gold requires physical security measures and trusted custodians, Bitcoin employs cryptographic techniques and a decentralized ledger. Bitcoin is secure by design, not by vault.
Finally, Bitcoin’s creation, or ‘mining,’ is a complex computational process regulated by an algorithm, making it “hard” and energy-intensive to produce, but no more difficult than physically digging gold out of the ground.
Video: Bitcoin VS Gold Full Debate (1hr 56 min)
What About Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption?
Bitcoin’s energy consumption — it’s the elephant in the room whenever Bitcoin is discussed.
Critics paint a grim picture, depicting Bitcoin as an energy-guzzling monster, poised to drain our planet’s resources. Saylor, however, begs to differ. He asserts that Bitcoin is more energy-efficient than traditional financial systems.
A radical claim? Perhaps. But let’s dive into the specifics before passing judgment.
As an engineer, Saylor can appreciate and pontificate on the science and application of energy for hours – and he has done so many times. Saylor is no stranger to marathon debates and interviews, and frequently riffs on the history of humans harnessing energy starting in the stone age all the way the modern century.
Bitcoin Is More Efficient Money
One of the main points I gather from his interviews is that bitcoin is a way to make money more efficient than our current system, which is a point often lost on people outside of the bitcoin space.
For example, how much energy does it require to send a gold bar from LA to Hong Kong? You’ve got to get boots on the ground and machines turning gears to get a physical piece of metal across land and ocean for weeks. Compare that with sending a bitcoin transaction that settles in ten minutes.
Furthermore, how much energy does it take to secure cash, gold bars, or real estate over a century? Imagine the energy costs of air conditioning alone as you staff a bank for 100 years while the guard your money. What type of military and police force is required to secure the integrity of a home you own, and what type of taxes are going to drain wealth away from the property over time?
Bitcoin is a way to conserve monetary energy over time and space.
Despite this logical comparisons, we still see wild predictions from so-called trusted sources like the World Economic Forum, which warned in 2017 that Bitcoin’s energy consumption would exceed the world’s total by 2020.
Of course, nobody cares how many times places like this make dumb studies and are incredibly wrong. As of 2023, Bitcoin’s network demands approximately 132.00 TWh — a mere droplet in the ocean of the global 160,000 TWh total energy production.
Video: 50,000 TWh of Energy Are Wasted Every Year
The primary energy concerns associated with Bitcoin are centered around mining, transactions, and infrastructure. These processes, while energy-intensive, are not necessarily wasteful.
Bitcoin miners, motivated by profits, are driven to seek out the cheapest possible energy sources. Interestingly, the plummeting costs of renewable energy sources are now making them economically competitive with fossil fuels. Not only that, but the profit-seeking motives of bitcoin miners means that miners may even invest in building out renewable infrastructure, making them a partner in green energy, not a waster.
Consequently, the Bitcoin network’s energy consumption could indirectly spur the adoption of renewable energy, promoting environmental sustainability.
Another point to consider is the geographic location of Bitcoin mining farms. A considerable portion of the energy consumed by these farms goes towards cooling the infrastructure — much like traditional data centers.
By situating farms in colder climates, such as BitCluster’s setup in Norilsk, Russia, Bitcoin mining operations can significantly reduce energy consumption for cooling, further improving efficiency.
Moreover, technological innovation relentlessly marches forward, continually presenting solutions for enhancing energy efficiency. This dynamic applies to Bitcoin as much as it does to any other industry.
Bitcoin Is Better For The Environment
Lastly, it’s crucial to juxtapose Bitcoin’s energy use against the traditional gold mining industry.
Extracting gold from increasingly inaccessible reserves is not only energy-intensive but also has severe environmental and ethical implications. In contrast, Bitcoin ‘mining’ is a virtual process with none of the earth-damaging consequences associated with gold mining.
The debate rages on, but I think one of the most interesting rebuttals to the “bitcoin uses too much energy” argument comes from a medium post from The Lumerin Protocol, highlighting the hypocrisy of those who criticize Bitcoin’s energy consumption:
“It’s funny to see all the backlash Bitcoin receives because of its energy consumption when you stop and see the many different sectors that are significantly more energy-intensive than Bitcoin’s network.”
Echoing the same perspective with precision and clarity, Tayler McCraken of CoinBureau articulates sentiments that hit the nail squarely on the head:
“One of the most infuriating aspects about this entire narrative is that many of the people who are shouting about Bitcoin mining being harmful to the planet are ignorantly hypocritical as many of them are the same people who rely daily on the traditional financial system, which uses immeasurably more energy than Bitcoin mining while driving gas-guzzling SUVs, running clothes dryers and air conditioning units 24/7 while their kid is in the basement playing video games as every light is on in the house.”
Not Everyone Is a Cyber Hornet
No matter where you stand on the Bitcoin spectrum, one thing is certain: Michael Saylor’s passionate Bitcoin evangelism has sparked some heated discussions.
From Bitcoin veterans to skeptical outsiders, Saylor’s remarks have drawn reactions as diverse as the Bitcoin community itself.
Jay Speakman, of BeInCrypto, suggests that Saylor’s unwavering bullish stance towards Bitcoin may have nudged the billionaire into a financial point of no return regarding the Bitcoin rhetoric:
One might argue that Michael Saylor is too far into Bitcoin to reverse his stance now. Having invested a significant portion of his company’s funds, as well as his personal wealth, into the digital asset, it could be said that he has little choice but to continue promoting Bitcoin in the hopes of attracting more buyers to drive the price up.
This has been a popular criticism among non-bitcoin hodlers or even advocates of other cryptocurrencies, who salivate at the idea of Microstrategy’s mega bitcoin bet turning sour. In the depths of the 2022 bear market there were a lot of rumors of Microstrategy not being able to pay back their loans, and yet somehow, they ended up buying even more bitcoin.
Gold Bugs Just Won’t Give It Up
Then, when it comes to Saylor’s proclamations about Bitcoin usurping gold’s throne, Jacob Silverman from The New Republic doesn’t mince his words. He meets Saylor’s assertions with a blistering critique and some harsh criticism:
The truth is that Bitcoin, unlike gold, is worthless.* It doesn’t do anything; it has no inherent value and can’t be converted to some other purpose. It’s not backed by a government, making it most useful to transnational crime networks, intelligence agencies, and anyone else looking to keep some assets off the books. The electricity cost of creating, or “mining,” a Bitcoin—which requires accessing the Bitcoin network and making a complicated mathematical calculation that requires tremendous computer power—makes it indefensible.
Again, the “bitcoin is worth nothing because you can’t put it in a computer chip” FUD is tired and old. Gold had almost no utility other than attractiveness for jewelry in the ancient world, and yet, it became the global money standard above all other “beautiful” metals, jewels, and rocks.
Whether you agree with his views or not, Saylor’s Bitcoin journey underscores an essential truth: Bitcoin is no longer a fringe asset. It has entered the mainstream financial discourse, and it’s here to stay.
So, whether you’re a curious spectator or a seasoned Bitcoiner, one thing is clear: the Bitcoin narrative is still being written, and you have a front-row seat to this financial revolution.
Video: Eric Wall Criticizes Michael Saylor
What Do Bitcoiners Think Of Michael Saylor?
Michael Saylor has a way with words, and has been an unwavering proponent of bitcoin for several years now. Without a doubt, there is not shortage of Saylor simps out there. Not all bitcoiners are on board though, and there have been two main criticisms from bitcoiners that I think are worth mentioning.
The Metaphors Aren’t Accurate
The first, and more important criticism to mention is that Michael Saylor’s vivid analogies sometimes go off the rails and muddy the waters for understanding how bitcoin works or what it actually does. The most egregious of these is that bitcoin “stores energy” like a battery, allowing you to harness energy in one area or at one time, then unleash that energy somewhere else in the future.
To me, it was clear what he meant in the several times he’s used this analogy. What he means it stores economic energy, not literal energy.
Of course, you can’t plug your phone into a bitcoin miner or node and charge it. You can’t mine a bitcoin, put it in your pocket, and then pop it into your gas tank. Bitcoin is not literal energy storage.
However, it does allow for the transportation of economic energy resources over time and space. For example, I can use some stranded energy from a waterfall in a far off location to generate electricity and mine bitcoin. I’m providing a service by creating blocks and ferrying transactions through the network, and securing previous transactions in older blocks. I’m paid for this service in bitcoin.
Later on, I can redeem that bitcoin for goods and services. I’m using my bitcoin to pay for the labor of someone else. Energy is never created or lost, it’s simply transferred. I’m harnessing energy from the waterfall, storing it in bitcoin (money), then exchanging it for the energy expenditure of someone else in the future.
I thought this it was pretty obvious that bitcoin is not a literal battery, and instead an economic one, but the metaphor seems to be lost on some people.
Bitcoiners Are Wary Of Leaders
Bitcoiners have been rugged by so-called “thought leaders” in the space many times, now, so they are hesitant to throw their weight behind anyone who appears to be a spokesperson for bitcoin. Previous bitcoin champions like Trace Mayer, Roger Ver, Jeff Garzik and others who were once prominent in the community have gone on to shitcoin or simply rage quit and left the scene.
Even Elon Musk rugged us when he bought a ton of bitcoin, then declared it environmentally unfriendly and started promoting dog coins within the span of six months. Experienced bitcoiners saw it coming, but new bitcoiners were sorely disappointed.
Because of this, many bitcoiners are hyperaware of any “attack from within” that could be initiated from a figure like Saylor. An attack at the social layer could play out something like this:
- Make a big splash into the bitcoin community
- Display knowledge and kinship with bitcoiners
- Grow a group of simps
- Slightly shift narrative to something harmful to bitcoin
- Get simps to promote the narrative
- Divide Bitcoiners
- Grow the group of uneducated simps to be louder and more connected than everyone else
There’s been a few things he’s said over the years that made the hairs on some bitcoiners back start to stand up straight, including some comments about ESG and self custody (I think, if I remember correctly), but most turned to be a nothing burger.