MIAMI, FLORIDA – JUNE 04: MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor speaks at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference held at the Mana Convention Center in Wynwood on June 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Crypto investors are reeling from the recent market downturn, but few have lost more than Michael Saylor, the tech CEO who’s staked his company’s future on Bitcoin.
Saylor, who was worth $1.6 billion at the beginning of March, saw his net worth drop below the $1 billion mark on Wednesday, according to Forbes estimates. His fortune is largely tied up in MicroStrategy stock and Bitcoin, two assets that have tumbled during the recent market selloff.
Shares of software company MicroStrategy, which Saylor cofounded in 1989, are down more than 61% in the last month, including nearly 30% in the last two days. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, has fallen 38% since late March, when it traded at around $48,000; it has shed over $300 billion in market value since then.
Few companies have hitched their wagons to Bitcoin as Microstrategy has. The software company, which does not provide services in the cryptocurrency sector, has plowed over $4.5 billion into buying Bitcoin at the direction of Saylor, its CEO. MicroStrategy held 129,218 bitcoins on its balance sheet as of March 31.
That mega bet is now underwater. MicroStrategy’s average purchase price for Bitcoin was $30,700 per token. The cryptocurrency was trading around $29,700 as of 4pm eastern standard time. MicroStrategy previously reported a $170.1 million impairment charge on its bitcoin holdings for the first quarter of 2022.
MicroStrategy took out a $205 million loan in late March to finance another round of Bitcoin buying at a price of around $48,000 per coin. The loan was backed by MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin holdings. Saylor took to Twitter yesterday to assuage investors about a possible margin call, saying that MicroStrategy had ample collateral to post if necessary.
The value of Saylor’s personal Bitcoin holdings has also declined, although his investment is still doing well. Saylor revealed in October 2020 that he had bought 17,732 bitcoins for an average purchase price of under $10,000 per coin.
A member of The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1999 (then worth $840 million), the 57-year-old Saylor studied aeronautics and astronautics at MIT before founding MicroStrategy in 1989. His fortune swelled during the 1990s dot-com boom, but was wiped out in the wake of an accounting scandal, in which the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Saylor and MicroStrategy had “materially overstated its revenues and earnings.” Civil charges were settled in 2000.
Saylor’s is not the only crypto fortune to plummet amid the market sell-off. Coinbase’s stock is down more than 66% in the last month, bruising the net worths of its billionaire founders, Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. Here is how much some of crypto’s wealthiest billionaires have lost during the recent market sell-off.