(Tech stock columnist Jon D. Markman publishes Strategic Advantage, a lively and lucrative guide to investing in the digital transformation of business and society. Click here for a trial.)
The price of bitcoin is surging again yet the real move higher may only be getting started. Demand is probably coming from Asia.
Bobby Lee, the entrepreneur who ran China’s first bitcoin exchange, believes the government is headed toward a cryptocurrency ban. Given the corporate crackdown this week, it makes sense nationals would seek the relative safety of an anonymous digital coin.
To be clear, the Chinese government is determined to reshape the new digital economy. Last week its State Council mandated that for-profit private tutoring firms become non-profits. Many of these firms are public companies with shareholders. Removing the potential for earnings destroyed billions in wealth overnight.
And the state has had various run-ins with online finance, ecommerce, ride-hailing, property and bitcoin operations. A Reuters report Wednesday speculated that online gambling may be the next big target.
Lee felt the wrath of the state first hand in his stint at BTC China. The 7-year old bitcoin exchange was shut down in 2017 following a ban on crypto trading. Lee told Bloomberg Monday that banning crypto altogether is the logical next step.
It is probably no coincidence bitcoin surged as the Chinese corporate crackdown accelerated.
MicroStrategy is the mullet of tech businesses.
Up front it is a profitable buttoned-down enterprise software company. In back the firm is all about leveraged bitcoin investment. The Tysons, VA.-based company now holds 105,000 bitcoins.
Michael Saylor, chief executive officer, decided in 2020 that owning bitcoin would create more shareholder value than holding cash. Then Saylor started selling debt to buy even more bitcoin.
The software business generated $83.8 million in free cashflow during the past 12 months. That’s ample to run the business and service debt.
Investors looking for a leveraged bitcoin play should consider MicroStrategy shares.