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Crypto plunge threatens Bitcoin whale Michael Saylor’s billionaire status after $100 million evaporates in a week

May 13, 2022, 5:24 PM UTC

In the world of corporate crypto investments, one whale stands alone.

That’s Michael Saylor, the billionaire CEO of tech firm MicroStrategy, who became a leading Bitcoin maximalist in 2020, when MicroStrategy started to build up its Bitcoin reserves and Saylor himself bought 17,732 Bitcoin tokens below $10,000—a bet that is still holding up.

MicroStrategy is still the largest corporate holder of Bitcoin, with 129,218 Bitcoin on its balance sheet as of March 31. Right behind him are Tesla’s Bitcoin holdings, accumulated under Elon Musk, and those of South Korean crypto mogul Do Kwon, whose so-called stablecoin cratered this week before getting delisted.

MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin holdings were valued at $3.9 billion as of Friday, versus $4.6 billion just last week, and Saylor’s personal fortune is now teetering at around the $1 billion mark, according to Forbes. 

Based on Saylor’s public disclosures about his Bitcoin holdings, his 17,732 Bitcoin were worth $640.2 million on May 6 and $531.9 million on Friday, equating to a loss of $108.25 million in just one week. 

The MIT graduate made his fortune from MicroStrategy, which he started in 1989. His wealth is largely tied up in Bitcoin and MicroStrategy stock, both of which have taken hits during the past couple of weeks. 

On Wednesday, his net worth actually dropped below the $1 billion mark, according to Forbes estimates, when MicroStrategy’s stock dropped to a low of $165 per share and Bitcoin dropped below the $30,000 mark. MicroStrategy did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Saylor first became a multibillionaire during the ’90s dotcom boom before losing his place in the 10-digit club after MicroStrategy revised its financial results in 1999. Saylor regained his billionaire status after the first quarter of 2021 as Bitcoin reached highs above $60,000, double its current price.

In March, MicroStrategy borrowed $205 million from Silvergate Bank, using Bitcoin as collateral to buy more Bitcoin. In the first quarter, MicroStrategy bought ​​$215 million of Bitcoin at an average price of $44,645 per coin. If the price of Bitcoin drops below $21,000, the company will face a margin call that will force it to pay up more cryptocurrency to back its loan with Silvergate. However, MicroStrategy’s CFO Phong Le said on the company’s first-quarter earnings call that it still has uncollateralized Bitcoin that it can put up.

As of Friday afternoon, Bitcoin was trading at about $30,300, down roughly 15% over the past seven days. The cryptocurrency is down about 56% from its highs last November. The drop in Bitcoin’s price cost MicroStrategy about $700 million over the past week, and $1.6 billion down from April’s Bitcoin high. 

The crypto market in general has taken major losses over the past week, with a huge selloff evaporating more than $200 billion in value.

Saylor, however, is undeterred. As he said in a tweet on Friday, “The ₿est is yet to come.”

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