Which CEOs Are Backing Bitcoin?
Though it may be eyed warily by traditional investment gurus, an array of the world’s most prominent business leaders remain convinced of Bitcoin’s potential – and many have made fortunes off their optimism.
The cryptocurrency market has attracted a not undeserved reputation for volatility. Bitcoin, which accounts for more than 60% of the global crypto market, has a history of oscillating from peak to trough. Two weeks ago it ended a record-breaking bull run with a 12.5% price plunge that dragged the rest of the market down with it – yet this managed to be only the second-worst crypto crash of the year so far, as the token shed a full 25% of its value in late January.
But even these apparent crashes have not undone the historic gains that have given Bitcoin its financial fame. The virtual currency leaped 400% — or $40,000 – between 2020 and 2021. Even more stark was its 3,200% rise from $1 to $32 between April and June 2011, and its meteoric 8,990,000% increase from $0.0009 at its inception in 2009. And of course, it is now well on its way to record levels again as of mid-March.
This has proven to be ample incentive for companies and funds to throw their weight behind the asset. And, as a risky investment, these moves are often driven by the personal passions of individuals at the head of the organisations putting up their money.
Below, we look at some of the biggest names in Bitcoin investment and how their endorsements have raised the virtual currency’s profile in the eyes of global investors.
Jack Dorsey – Square, Twitter
One of the most renowned tech CEOs is also one of the most bullish on Bitcoin. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has been outspoken in his belief that the internet is heading towards a global native currency that anybody can access and has hailed Bitcoin as “the best manifestation of that so far”. He has also changed his Twitter bio to simply read “#bitcoin” – a notable endorsement from the platform’s creator.
Bitcoin, which accounts for more than 60% of the global crypto market, has a history of oscillating from peak to trough.
While Twitter has yet to include Bitcoin on its balance sheet (though it has apparently considered the idea), Dorsey’s optimism for cryptocurrency has found a significant vehicle in Square. Under Dorsey’s leadership, the payments company has enabled its users to purchase BTC and made hefty investments into the currency itself, spending $50 million to add 4,700 BTC to its accounts in 2020.
Square’s embrace of Bitcoin made headlines again recently as it bought $170 million worth of the currency, tripling down on the $50 million it purchased last October and ending February’s crypto price crash. With this new injection, 5% of Square’s total assets are now invested in Bitcoin.
Michael Saylor – MicroStrategy
Based in Virginia, MicroStrategy is a major business analytics platform that has become widely known for its record-setting bets on cryptocurrency. Interestingly, MicroStrategy CEO MichaelSaylor was once an active detractor of the concept of virtual currency, tweeting in 2013 that Bitcoin’s days were numbered and likening the asset to online gambling.
To say that Saylor’s outlook has changed would be an understatement. Like Dorsey, he has begun to laud Bitcoin as an “incorruptible” global bank that provides financial access to “billions of people that don’t have the option or desire to run their own hedge fund.” Also like Dorsey, Saylor has used his Twitter bio to declare his support for Bitcoin, and channelled his enthusiasm for the token to great effect through his company.
MicroStrategy has adopted BTC as its primary reserve currency, buying up a staggering 71,000 tokens by the beginning of February; at one point late last year Saylor claimed to be buying $1,000 worth of Bitcoin every second. Even after February’s Bitcoin crash, MicroStrategy responded by purchasing almost 20,000 additional BTC for more than $1 billion, ensuring it remains in the spotlight among publicly traded companies supporting Bitcoin. The company can now reasonably be expected to sink or swim depending on the currency’s fate, and there is no telling how great its gains or losses from Saylor’s decision.
MicroStrategy has adopted BTC as its primary reserve currency, buying up a staggering 71,000 tokens by the beginning of February.
Michael Sonnenshein – Grayscale Investments
A subsidiary of Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, Grayscale Investments is the single largest cryptocurrency asset manager in the world. Naturally, the amount of Bitcoin it has accrued is truly mouth-watering, equating to more than 3% of the coin’s total circulating supply. Grayscale bought 70% of all newly created Bitcoin in 2020 and has not backed down in the face of recent price slumps.
A good deal of Grayscale’s trust in the world’s premier cryptocurrency stems from its leadership. CEO Michael Sonnenshein, who took the reins at Grayscale after founder Barry Silbert stepped down in January, has been especially bullish on the currency. During a talk with Finance Magnates, Sonnenshein pointed to the growth of Bitcoin and its peer currencies in 2020 as proof of crypto’s long-term staying power. “Remember, these are just the early days, and we think there’s a lot more runway to go,” he said.
Sonnenshein’s optimism for Bitcoin has already begun to pay off. Accumulating more than half a million BTC on its books, Grayscale began 2020 with $2 billion in assets and ended it with over $20.2 billion, a 900% surge that is certain to draw attention from investors – and which it continues to capitalise upon with further crypto purchases.
Elon Musk (Maybe) – Tesla
Tesla’s February investment of $1.5 billion in Bitcoin deservedly made headlines. Aside from representing a significant portion of the automaker’s $19 billion in liquid cash and cash equivalents, the investment coincided with an announcement that the company will also “begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment” for its products in the near future. This display of confidence also sparked the beginning of the currency’s most recent bull run, finally pushing it over the $50,000 mark after an astonishing 50% jump.
The move followed a long history of apparent Bitcoin endorsement from CEO Elon Musk. He has at various points declared Bitcoin to be “a good thing”, began the trend of declaring Twitter bio support of #bitcoin that Dorsey and Saylor would later follow, and even claimed that he “wouldn’t turn down being paid in bitcoin”. In spite of this, Musk has recently sought to distance himself from direct promotion of Bitcoin, saying that Tesla made the decision to invest in the currency on its own and tweeting that both it and rival Ethereum “seem high”.
Whatever Musk’s ‘true’ opinions on cryptocurrency, it can’t be denied that he has become a kingmaker in the industry. Dogecoin, an asset created as a joke, climbed 800% following light-hearted endorsement from the Tesla founder, and his “seem high” tweet immediately preceded this week’s crypto market crash. Though Dorsey, Saylor and Sonnenshein each command a reputation in the cryptosphere, none have yet been able to change its entire trajectory with a handful of tweets – perhaps a perk of being a contender for the title of richest person in the world.