When it comes to publicly traded companies that own bitcoin, one firm totally dominates—and it’s not Tesla or Square or Coinbase. It’s MicroStrategy, a Virginia-based firm that provides business intelligence, mobile software, and cloud computing.
It owns about two-and-a-half times as much bitcoin as Tesla, the second-largest holder of the cryptocurrency. MicroStrategy is so long on bitcoin because its 57-year-old billionaire CEO, Michael Saylor, had an epiphany during the summer of 2020 when COVID-19 shutdowns caused economic turmoil across the country.
Bitcoin, he tells Reason, “is an approximation of a perfect monetary system because it is correct. It has no inflation in it. It’s not corruptible because it’s decentralized.” As the economy tanked due to external factors, Saylor directed MicroStrategy to keep buying bitcoin regardless of the price. And he’s remained bullish despite the recent steep price slide—while joking on Twitter that his next job might be working at a McDonald’s.
He believes that more people will catch on over time that bitcoin is the last, best hope of creating an economy that is independent of the machinations of politicians, central bankers, and connected investors who rig the system to benefit themselves at the expense of regular people. Reason sat down with Saylor at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami in April to talk about why he’s all in on bitcoin, how his training as an engineer informs his worldview, and his belief that the one thing holding back the mass adoption of a non-state-backed currency is a lack of clarity on how the U.S. government will regulate it.