To put it mildly, bitcoin, not to mention the crypto landscape as a whole, has had a very rough year.
After a crash in June that saw bitcoin fall to an all-time low of $20,000 (the all-time high was $69,044.77 in November 2021), major crypto investors began pulling out, including Meta’s META, Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla (TSLA) – Get the Tesla Inc. report CEO Elon Musk.
Prominent crypto lenders collapsed in the fall, including Celsius Network, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 13, and Voyager Digital, which did the same on July 6.
Other big cryptocurrency believers were also hit hard. One of them, billionaire and CEO of MicroStrategy (MSTR) – Get the MicroStrategy Incorporated report Michael Saylor, has long been an evangelist in the space, often taking to Twitter to share his beliefs with his 2.6 million followers and express his philosophy on the future of digital currency.
But Saylor’s belief in the power of bitcoin turned on him when he lost $1.2 billion in the crash, and now, after 33 years serving as CEO of MicroStrategy, he is stepping down.
Saylor is taking on a new role for MicroStrategy
In a press release issued on August 2, MicroStrategy announced that Saylor will step down from his position, which will be taken over by company president Phong Le effective August 8.
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Le has served as chairman since July 2020 and has been with MicroStrategy since 2015 in previous executive positions including chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
However, Saylor will remain part of the company. His new title will be executive chairman and he will retain his position as chairman of the board, as well as an executive officer of the company.
“I believe that separating the roles of Chairman and CEO will allow us to better pursue our two corporate strategies of acquiring and holding bitcoin and growing our business analytics software business. As Executive Chairman I will be able to focus more on our bitcoin acquisition strategy and related bitcoin advocacy initiatives, while Phong will be empowered as CEO to manage overall corporate operations,” said Mr. Saylor.
Bitcoin King, Stepping Down?
While Saylor has many fans on Twitter, the platform on which he is most vocal, he also has many followers who take a look at his stance on bitcoin and dismiss him as crazy.
Some of the latter took advantage of the announcement by mocking Saylor.
Saylor, meanwhile, acted like nothing was wrong, tweeting pretty much the same way he usually does.
TheStreet’s Luc Olinga predicted that Saylor’s confidence in bitcoin would prompt him to face a reckoning, especially in light of his seemingly unwavering support for the digital currency in the past.
Shares of MicroStrategy have been in decline since the beginning of the crypto winter, down 51% since the start of 2022.