MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor and Juan Zarate, global co-managing partner and chief strategy officer at K2 Integrity and an inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100 for 2022, recently joined in an exclusive fireside chat to discuss global financial trends, imperative national security and cybersecurity issues and federal government implications as they relate to cryptocurrencies.
The fireside chat portion of POC’s Digital Currency and National Security Forum Thursday capped off a timely program featuring keynote sessions from National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, and former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea, as well as insightful panel discussions with crypto thought leaders, blockchain analysts, digital currency experts and federal government representatives.
In this segment of the forum, Zarate initiated the conversation by asking Saylor to provide the audience with context and background information on his experience – both personal and corporate – with Bitcoin, which then opened a paramount dialogue on how cryptocurrencies will impact global finance as their use continues to skyrocket.
If you missed the productive fireside chat, visit PotomacOfficersClub.com to view the full Digital Currency and National Security Forum on-demand now.
To answer Zarate’s first question, Saylor pointed to the K-shaped recovery from COVID-19 in 2020 as a wake-up call for MicroStrategy, and for organizations across multiple industries worldwide. He noted that 40 percent of all the dollars in the U.S. were printed in the last two years – a major contributor to massive monetary inflation rates and sharply declining interest rates in the country.
“This dichotomy between ‘main street’ and ‘wall street’ that became manifestly clear in the second quarter of 2020 jolted us,” Saylor shared. He added that as the cost of capital for public companies tripled and cash ceased to generate interest, he knew he had to make a transformational change to continue delivering value for MicroStrategy’s shareholders, customers and employees.
Citing this drop in the market, Saylor said, “That jolted us out of our conventional treasury strategy of holding U.S. cash and credit sovereign debt. We discovered Bitcoin – which is digital gold – and we converted our balance sheet from cash to Bitcoin.”
This Bitcoin conversion, Saylor said, catapulted MicroStrategy to a new corporate tier, drove up company stock and significantly boosted employee morale. MicroStrategy is currently the largest publicly-traded corporate owner of Bitcoin, with approximately $5 billion worth of digital assets in the form of Bitcoin.
“We went from a labor intensive, cash intensive strategy to a property strategy in order to deal with inflationary pressures,” he stated, noting that he views Bitcoin as a pure digital form of money, energy and property that can move efficiently and instantaneously through space and time.
“Bitcoin is the first creation of digital property in the history of the world,” said Saylor. “We managed to create a non-sovereign store of value in the form of a synthetic bearer instrument.”
As an unregulated, universally accessible digital asset, Saylor said Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have widespread impacts across human rights and the global economy for billions of people. This digital money is especially critical for the 8 billion individuals around the world who are living in jurisdictions with weakening currencies and astronomical inflation rates.
“Everybody in a country where they don’t trust their government or their currency is collapsing – they would like to store their life’s savings in something that will last, something that’s a non-sovereign asset,” Saylor shared.
His answer to this issue is Bitcoin. Saylor said, “You have an economic issue that affects every investor and you have a technology that moves money at the speed of light,” highlighting the solutions Bitcoin can provide in the face of rising inflation rates around the world.
Watch the full fireside chat with Michael Saylor and Juan Zarate on-demand now, and check out other GovCon sector events at PotomacOfficersClub.com.
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