Musk Versus Saylor on Bitcoin: What do They Really Think?

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The CEO for a Day of DogeCoin and the CEO of MicroStrategy seem to have come to a fork in the road.

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On Feb. 19, MicroStrategy announced that its most recent senior notes offering ran to $1.05 billion dollars. The company took on this debt in order to buy another billion worth of Bitcoin. And on Feb. 8, Tesla announced a $1.5 billion purchase of BTC. 

Both pieces of news sent Bitcoin upward into new territory. After the MicroStrategy announcement, for example, BTC broke the $57,000 mark for the first time.  But do the CEOs of the companies, Elon Musk and Michael Saylor, respectively, see cryptocurrency and especially Bitcoin in the same light?

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First, There’s Fiat

Both Musk and Saylor seem to agree on the inadequacy of fiat currency. Government issued money is a losing proposition, which is what brought Michael Saylor to Bitcoin in the first place. Critics claim that MicroStrategy is just a Bitcoin repository with a company attached. Saylor has always maintained that MicroStrategy is a business intelligence firm that has Bitcoin in its corporate treasury. The Bitcoin purchases are a hedge against a devaluating U.S. dollar.

In a  Feb. 20 tweet thread with famous investor and gold-bug Peter Schiff, Elon Musk called the top crypto “almost as BS as fiat money. Operative word: almost”. The point that Musk has made repeatedly is that fiat currencies, like the dollar, are at best a problem.

The Firms

MicroStrategy became famous in 2020 for its Bitcoin purchases. Saylor claimed that the sinking dollar forced him, as CEO, to consider the effect on the company’s cash holdings. There had to be a better way, and he determined that it was with Bitcoin. Since the initial $50 million purchase, MicroStrategy has gone on to buy billions of dollars worth of BTC. As a result, investment holdings such as Norway’s Oljefundet have bought the company’s stock.

In 2021, MicroStrategy literally opened its books. The company held an online seminar called “Bitcoin for Corporations” and shared its knowledge of how a company can include the asset in its holdings from the legal and accounting perspectives. 

Tesla, on the other hand was quiet in Bitcoin terms until the $1.5 billion purchase made on Feb. 8. In contrast to Saylor and MicroStrategy, Musk seems to run Tesla on a more conservative line. In response to a tweet from Binance Chairman CZ, Musk called the Bitcoin buy “adventurous enough for an S&P 500 company.” He also noted that Tesla’s moves do not necessarily reflect his own opinions. 

Musk and “Almost”

Whereas Saylor has rarely shown a shadow of a doubt about Bitcoin, Musk is quick to point out that in the end, he’s an engineer. So, when Elon Musk says a coin price “seems” high, perhaps he actually is saying what he means.

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James Hydzik is a finance and technology writer and editor based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is especially interested in the development of regulation in the face of increasingly rapid technological change. He previously covered the CEE region for Financial Times banking and FDI magazines. An ardent believer in gut renovating eastern Europe one flat at a time, he currently holds more home renovation gear than crypto.

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