Saylor versus Musk: bull brains

It’s an unhappy time in crypto-land. Since Elon Musk’s volte face on bitcoin last week due to concerns about its environmental impact (concerns he almost definitely knew about before, we should add), the funny money has somewhat deflated. Several of the coins are in the midst of 30 to 50 per cent drawdowns, with many paper net worths following suit.

The snake eating its tail vibe engulfing crypto-markets at the moment is something to behold. But even then, we weren’t quite expecting the drama to be as acutely expressed as it was on Thursday when MicroStrategy chief executive Michael Saylor, and long declared bitcoin bull, weighed in on the environmental debate via the Twitter replies to some unsuspecting FT journalists.

If you don’t know MicroStrategy, it’s a bitcoin safety box masquerading as a $4.4bn tech company. At last count, the business had $2.25bn of bitcoin on its balance sheet, purchased at an average price $24,450 per coin, according to a Tuesday SEC filing. For a business that earned just $81.4m of operating profits in the last 12 months, we’re sure you’ll agree it’s quite an exposure to the yo-yoing king of coins.

MicroStrategy’s almost unique attitude to balance sheet risk has lead Saylor to become a cult figure among the bitcoin maximalists, and he does a good job of playing up to it. He often appears on video to discuss bitcoin strategy in front of a large, model boat which is perhaps a nod to his love of multi-million dollar yachts. And as can be expected, he also has a loud Twitter account with the bitcoin-bro-batman-signal of photoshopped laser eyes on the profile shot.

Anyway, back to today’s events. You may have read this morning the FT’s excellent long read on Bitcoin’s outsized environmental impact (which, as an aside, will be discussed on Clubhouse tomorrow at 11am UK time). As it’s a great piece, market news editor Adam Samson decided to promote it on Twitter. This, of course, rubbed the bitcoin crowd up the wrong way, particularly after a painful week in markets. One account, Mr_Blinkx, replied with a heavily edited video of Saylor debunking Bitcoin’s energy use. Samson replied politely with a chart from the piece. Fair enough.

Then Elon stepped in. In a deleted tweet he referred to Saylor as a “Gigachad” (not a good thing, we hear) to which Saylor himself replied:

To which Elon replied back with this meme:

Yes that would be the same Elon Musk who briefly became the richest person in the world in January on the back of being a 17.7 per cent owner of acompany whose share price chart looks like this:

But perhaps that old adage is true: it sometimes takes one to know one.

Bitcoin seems relatively unperturbed by its celebrity cheerleaders going full Lord of the Flies, however. At pixel time its trading at $42,185, up 12 per cent in the past 24 hours.

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