MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor told CNBC on Tuesday he believes bitcoin will continue appreciating in value to the point where the cryptocurrency becomes a “stabilizing influence” for the entire global financial system. He predicted, in a bold call, that bitcoin’s market value would be $100 trillion one day.
Saylor’s comments on “Squawk Box” came as the price of bitcoin fell more than 10% on Tuesday, dipping below $50,000 per unit. The move lower took the market value of the world’s largest cryptocurrency back under $1 trillion, just a few days after the volatile digital asset eclipsed that level for the first time.
However, bitcoin was still up 60% since the start of the year and has risen more than 360% in the last 12 months.
“There’s a $500 trillion monetary planet and the outer layer is currency, then you’ve got stocks, bonds, real estate. There’s $10 trillion worth of gold in there, $1 trillion of bitcoin in there. Bitcoin is going to flip gold, and it’s going to subsume the entire gold market cap,” contended Saylor, who has become one of the most prominent evangelists for bitcoin since his enterprise software company began buying it in August.
“Then it’s going to subsume negative-yielding sovereign debt and other monetary indexes until it grows to $100 trillion. Once it gets to $10 trillion, its volatility will be dramatically less,” Saylor said. “As it marches toward $100 trillion, you’re going to see the growth rates fall, the volatility fall, and it’s going to be a stabilizing influence in the entire financial system of the 21st century.”
In his addition to his company’s significant bitcoin holdings, Saylor told CNBC he also owns the digital coin in a personal capacity.
Bitcoin has been called “digital gold” by some crypto bulls, and they tout its ability to serve as a store of value due to the fact its total supply is capped at 21 million coins. Currently, there are 18.64 million coins in circulation, according to Coindesk. New bitcoins come onto the market as a reward for so-called miners, who use high-powered computers to verify transactions across the decentralized system.
Saylor laid out his grand vision for bitcoin a day after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen once again raised questions about the digital coin. Yellen said she was worried about its role in “illicit finance” and the energy consumption used to mine bitcoin.
“It is a highly speculative asset and you know I think people should be aware it can be extremely volatile and I do worry about potential losses that investors can suffer,” Yellen, also a former Federal Reserve chair, added at Monday’s New York Times DealBook conference.
In an interview last week on CNBC, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he was not concerned about bitcoin’s potential to upend the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.
“I just think for Fed policy, it’s going to be a dollar economy as far as the eye can see — a dollar global economy really as far as the eye can see — and whether the gold price goes up or down, or the bitcoin price goes up or down, doesn’t really affect that,” Bullard said on “Squawk Box.”
Saylor said he sees the demand for bitcoin growing in the coming years, not only from institutions but from individual people around the world, which would have the effect of pushing its value upward.
“I think that you can expect that we’ll have a billion people storing their value, in essence a savings account, on a mobile device within five years and they’re going to want to use something like bitcoin,” he contended, describing it as “the dominant digital monetary network.”
Last week, MicroStrategy completed its second convertible debt offering with the goal of using the net proceeds to buy bitcoin. The first debt sale came in at $650 million in December. The offering completed Friday generated roughly $1.03 billion in net proceeds, with the notes bearing a 0% coupon rate.
MicroStrategy disclosed its first crypto purchase in August, putting existing cash on its balance sheet toward acquiring almost 21,500 bitcoins. The company owned nearly 72,000 bitcoin, as of a regulatory filing Feb. 2. At around $47,000 in Tuesday’s trading, that stake is worth nearly $3.4 billion.
Saylor has argued companies should hold bitcoin as an investment, instead of holding cash or short-term government bonds, because the digital coin will generate far superior returns over the long term. In December, Saylor publicly encouraged Tesla CEO Elon Musk to do just that. Just over a month later, Tesla announced it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin.
Some have been skeptical about MicroStrategy’s push into bitcoin, particularly when it comes to issuing debt to finance additional purchases. In a late-January note to clients, Citi analyst Tyler Radke called it “aggressive” and a potential “deal-breaker for some software investors.”
Shares of MicroStrategy have taken off since the Virginia-based company began acquiring bitcoin as investors looked for ways to gain exposure to the digital coin. The stock traded around $120 in early August before the firm’s entrance into the crypto space was made public, but began rallying throughout the fall and into 2021.
MicroStrategy’s stock hit its highest level since the dot-com boom on Feb. 9, reaching $1,315 per share. It’s pulled back sharply in recent days, and it fell about 20% in Tuesday’s session to around $700 per share. Still, MicroStrategy has nearly doubled year to date and it’s up roughly 400% in the past 12 months.
As bitcoin prices dropped, Tesla shares also suffered a major downturn, losing as much as 13% in early Tuesday trading, before paring those losses. The automaker’s drop sent the stock negative for 2021. Tesla sank over 8.5% on Monday after dipping Thursday and Friday. However, even with its four-day slide, Tesla was still up 275% in the past 12 months.