The popularity of altcoins like dogecoin and shiba inu coin drove a 54% surge in cryptocurrency users in the second quarter, data from exchange Crypto.com shows.
At the end of June, there were 221 million users compared to the 132 million towards the end of April.
Altcoins have gained traction in recent months thanks to the massive returns they promise due to wild price swings compared to older and more established digital assets, such as bitcoin and ether.
Dogecoin, now the eighth-largest digital asset, has rocketed 4,175% this year, far surpassing bitcoin’s 35% gain and ether’s 208% climb.
Shiba inu, a new coin founded in August 2020, has been trading flat, though the dogecoin knockoff peaked at $0.00003628 on May 10.
Both coins, which bear a shiba inu dog as their symbols, have gotten some semblance of approval from the wider crypto community.
Dogecoin can now be bought and sold through Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, while shiba inu coin was listed in Binance-owned WazirX, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in India.
Overall, the cryptocurrency space has been rapidly evolving as more institutions embrace digital assets. It took just four months to double the global cryptocurrency user base from 100 million to 200 million, whereas it took years before the 100 million milestone was even reached, according to data.
The second half of 2021, in particular, saw an acceleration in cryptocurrency adoption due to a confluence of events, from heavyweights such as Teslaaccepting bitcoin as a mode of payment (a move it has since reversed) to MicroStrategy‘s continued investment in the cryptocurrency. El Salvador made history earlier this year as the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.
Capital International Group, a $2.3 trillion asset manager based in LA, disclosed a 12.2% stake in bitcoin-focused MicroStrategy, according to SEC filings.
The disclosure, of some $560 million in MicroStrategy stock, makes Capital Group the second-biggest shareholder in the business intelligence firm, after BlackRock’s $700 million stake.
MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor has become a vaunted figure in bitcoin circles, elevated by his company’s increasingly massive holdings of the cryptocurrency, currently at over 105,000 tokens. The company, which runs a data analytics platform, has spent a combined $2.7 billion buying bitcoin and has borrowed money and issued equity to do so, according to past filings.
MicroStrategy has gone as far as deeming bitcoin its “primary” treasury reserve asset, meaning the cryptocurrency is being used for day-to-day cash management.
Some investors have come to see companies like MicroStrategy as a handy alternative to investing in bitcoin directly, especially given the absence of a bitcoin ETF in America. Funds like VanEck’s Digital Transformation ETF seek to replicate bitcoin’s performance by holding equity in the likes of Square, Coinbase, and MicroStrategy.
Bitcoin bull Michael Saylor said the cryptocurrency’s volatility will always hurt those who invest purely to trade or based on speculation in a recent interview with Northman Trader’s Sven Henrich over the weekend.
“The people that invest in bitcoin as traders – and they don’t, they don’t have a technology view or the macro view – they’re always going to be disappointed because of volatility,” Saylor said.
He urged investors not to put more money than they can lose into bitcoin and crypto markets, especially if they were basing trades on speculation and said he is not in a place to give advice to anyone planning to invest or trade with bitcoin over a short timeframe.
“If on the other end you have a 10-year technology conviction and a 10-year macroeconomic conviction, or if you have an ideological conviction, then take money that you can hold for ten years,” Saylor said, adding that the volatility of bitcoin does not impact him personally as he has invested money he can afford to lose and can wait for the cryptocurrency to pick up from bigger sell-offs.
MicroStrategy CEO Saylor is a key figure in the online bitcoin and crypto space, who has consistently said the cryptocurrency is a form of investment. He sees it as a way to store value in place of traditional assets like gold and a way to protect his investments from increasing inflation and taxes.
In recent months, he has made bitcoin part of his company’s financial. Just last month MicroStrategy sold shares worth $1 billion, in parts to purchase more bitcoin, after having already completed a $500 million bond sale to raise cash for more crypto buying.
At the time, the company owned 92,079 bitcoin – currently worth over $3.2 billion based on the most recent price of bitcoin according to Coingecko data.
In comparison to those who buy bitcoin to trade with it or based on speculation, Saylor told Henrich that he is focused on the long-term and views himself as somewhat of a tech investor – not least because of bitcoin’s functionalities including ease of transfer and bitcoin applications.
“I am on the tech long-term tech investment, like the decade-long trend, and on the savings side,” Saylor said.
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor headlined the sold-out Bitcoin 2021 Miami conference on Friday along with a star-studded lineup that included everyone from Tony Hawk to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In front of 12,000 attendees, with thousands more watching online, the two discussed why they are so bullish on bitcoin, how they got started in the business, their thoughts on recent ESG concerns, and much more.
Here are Saylor and Dorsey’s 12 best quotes from the interviews, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
“For me, bitcoin changes absolutely everything. What I’m drawn to most about it is the ethos, what it represents. The conditions that created it are so rare and so special and so precious and I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on. I don’t think there’s anything more enabling for people around the world.”
“Whatever I can do, whatever my companies can do to make it more accessible to everyone is how I want to spend the rest of my life. If I were not at Square or Twitter I’d be working on bitcoin. If it needed more help than Square and Twitter, I would leave them for bitcoin. But I think both companies have a role to play.”
“They’re missing everything. They’re not getting out of New York, they’re not getting out of the country, they’re not talking to people. Go to Nigeria for one day and see the struggle that people have to put up with, with their government and with their money. Go to Ghana that has a bunch of transplants from all over the continent and you witness the same thing every single day. Go to India and you’ll see the same.”
“Everything about it is why we’re into it. There’s nothing else that compares to it. And we have no interests other than making sure we are building a native currency for the internet and helping in every way that we can. So all the other coins to me, don’t factor in at all.”
“You just look at the economics of it and, you know, ultimately miners have to make a profit and getting cheap renewable energy maximizes their potential for profit, it’s really that simple. I thought I had some agreement with some notable figures out there and then that seemed to change in a matter of a few weeks…but I believe fully that bitcoin over time and today does incentivize more renewable energy…and gives people more freedom to convert unused, wasted power into something that actually creates value for billions of people around the world.”
“That realization that we finally have a currency that can be traded at any single point on the planet is pretty incredible and what that enables going forward is pretty mind-blowing and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that that happens.”
“When I discovered bitcoin I thought this is digital gold on a big tech monetary network and it’s going to grow by a factor of a hundred. Then I thought, well, I should buy as much as I can…I was buying it and I was thinking I have to buy as much as I can, as fast as I can or someone will figure this out and I won’t be able to.”
“Bitcoin is the apex property of the human race. It’s the first time we figured out how to create true property that you can take possession of with full custodial rights that’s least likely to be impaired, that’s most mobile….bitcoin is truly a seminal invention of the human race because for the first time in history we can grant property rights to 8 billion people.”
“I think bitcoin is an extraordinary, disruptive, beneficial technology to the whole energy industry. As I studied it, it became clear that it’s the highest value use of intermittent energy. It’s the highest value use of renewable energy. It’s the highest value use of wasted or stranded energy. And it’s just the highest value use of energy, period. It’s the solution to developing power plants in remote locations, to driving up efficiency of plants and driving down costs…I think as the world understands it, they’re going to embrace it.”
“What I was doing with bitcoin was, I was saying I don’t want to decapitalize the company. I want to keep the capital or grow the capital, but I want to put an asset on the balance sheet. The big breakthrough is I can convert my cash from a liability to an asset and then we realized that if that asset is going to go up by more than 10% a year and you can borrow money at 5% or four, or three, or two, then you should pretty much borrow as much money as you can and flip it into the asset.”
“Bitcoin links together 8 billion people, links together a hundred million companies, it synchronizes the world across political jurisdictions, and it returns rationality to the entire financial system, and it returns freedom and property rights to the entire human race.”
“We say bitcoin is hope. Bitcoin fixes everything…that certainly was the case with our stock….it imbued life into the company…morale was dramatically boosted. We just had the best first quarter we’ve had in a decade.”
MicroStrategy founder and CEO Michael Saylor said he convened industry leaders including Blockcap, Hut 8, Marathon Digital Holdings, and Riot Blockchain to discuss forming an organization that would establish reporting standards and ESG goals for mining. The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The miners have agreed to form the Bitcoin Mining Council to promote energy usage transparency & accelerate sustainability initiatives worldwide,” Saylor said in a tweet.
Bitcoin prices popped from about $38,000 to a peak of $39,600 after Musk’s initial tweet, before sliding back down below $39,000.
MicroStrategy holds roughly 21,000 bitcoin as part of its treasury reserve policy, which was worth roughly $2 billion in April, according to its first-quarter financial disclosures.
The price of the currency has been especially volatile this month after Musk expressed concerns about the environmental impact of crypto mining and said Tesla would no longer accept the currency for car sales.
In a response to Saylor’s tweet, Texas-based miner Blockcap highlighted its use of clean energy, saying that “56% of our electricity comes from carbon-free sources, & we will continue to work together with energy innovators & providers to constantly increase that amount.”
Marathon Digital Holdings Executive Chairman tweeted , “As a founding member of the Bitcoin Mining Council, @MarathonDH will do our part to contribute to sustainable mining and transparency.”
Bitcoin mining consumes over 113 terawatt hours per year, slightly more than the country of the Netherlands at 110 terawatt hours, according to a real-time estimate from the University of Cambridge’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.
Noted crypto evangelist Michael Saylor doubled down on bitcoin on Wednesday amid a collapse in the cryptocurrency market.
Bitcoin fell as low as $30,000 per coin on Wednesday and cryptocurrencies as a whole lost nearly 20% of their total market cap in a single day, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.
Saylor, the co-founder of MicroStrategy, tweeted to his more than 900,000 followers the simple phrase “I’m not selling” amid the drop. The post quickly received more than 30,000 likes.
Saylor has long been a proponent of the crypto space and even held a virtual conference called Bitcoin for Corporations in February to spur institutional investment.
MicroStrategy, an enterprise analytics and software firm, has become one of the largest institutional holders of bitcoin over the past year as well.
The company currently holds some 92,079 bitcoins acquired for roughly $2.251 billion at an average price of approximately 24,450 per bitcoin, according to Saylor.
MicroStrategy’s most recent purchase came a day before bitcoin’s historic drop. The company acquired an additional $10 million worth of bitcoin at an average price of $43,663 per coin, according to a Tweet from Saylor.
MicroStrategy stock fell as much as 15% on Wednesday amid the crypto rout, but mounted a recovery later in the day.
Saylor’s biggest rivals used bitcoin’s fall to take aim at the crypto evangelist. Peter Schiff, a noted gold bull, compared Saylor to Captain Ahab from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
Schiff told his nearly 500,000 Twitter follows that Saylor’s “obsession with Bitcoin will not only be his death but it will kill everyone onboard MSTR.”
“Shareholders must choose between mutiny or jumping ship,” Schiff added.
Michael Saylor’s Microstrategy, which just “bought the dip” in bitcoin with $10 million at an average price of $43,663 per coin, was down as much as 15% on the day.
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust sank more than 6% on Wednesday as well, and even Tesla saw its stock drop more than 3% on the dark day for cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Cryptocurrencies as a whole saw roughly 15% wiped off their total market cap on the day, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com, as altcoins fell in tandem with crypto leaders bitcoin and ethereum.
All of the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap, except the stablecoins, fell double digits on Wednesday.
The cryptocurrency bear market began on May 12, when Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as a payment method due to the environmental impact of its computational mining tactic for minting new coins.
Then on Tuesday, the Chinese government reinforced its previous ban on financial institutions and payments companies operating in the cryptocurrency business.
The National Internet Finance Association of China, the China Banking Association, and the Payment and Clearing Association of China said in a statement that cryptocurrencies “are not supported by real value” and argued speculative trading of cryptocurrencies is “seriously infringing on the safety of people’s property and disrupting the normal economic and financial order.”
The historic single-day fall for cryptocurrencies comes just a day after Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz shrugged off the recent crypto-slump.
“It’s easy to get buried in the volatility of the day,” Novogratz said, according to a transcript on Sentieo, a financial-research site. “Elon Musk’s Twitter comments, bitcoin going down 4,000 points, and everyone starts running around like chickens with their head cut off.”
Novogratz said he expects the total value of crypto assets to triple, or even quadruple, to between $6 trillion and $8 trillion in the coming years.
Bitcoin tumbled to $42,185 on Monday morning, several hours after Musk replied “Indeed” to a Twitter post saying: “Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings.”
The price of the cryptocurrency climbed somewhat when the billionaire clarified that Tesla still holds its stake.
Bitcoin traded lower by 7.9% to $45,064.723 as of 10 a.m. in New York.
Here is where shares of bitcoin-linked stocks stood on Monday morning:
The crypto community was swift to reject Elon Musk’s decision late on Wednesday to halt payment in bitcoin for Tesla vehicles due to environmental concerns, suggesting that renewable energy is largely used to mine the popular cryptocurrency.
“We are concerned about the rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk said in a tweet Wednesday.
Here’s how some bitcoin bulls reacted to Musk’s announcement:
“Ironic because no incremental energy is used in a #bitcoin transaction. The energy is used to secure the crypto-asset network, and the net impact on fossil fuel consumption over time will be negative, all things considered.” – MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor.
“Elon probably did not research how much energy is required to run other (non crypto) currencies that Tesla accepts.” – Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
“Elon … you realize that 75% of miners use renewable energy, right? This energy story has been debunked over and over again.” – Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano.
“When Elon realizes that bitcoin mining is actually pushing the renewable energy industry forward, he will refresh position and #bitcoin will moon.” – co-founder and president at crypto exchange Gemini Cameron Winklevoss.
“FWIW, Bitcoin mining is a massive subsidy for renewable energy.” – co-founder and CEO at Gemini Tyler Winklevoss.
“We at Mavs.com will continue to accept BTC/Eth/Doge because we know that replacing gold as a store of value will help the environment and shrinking big bank and coin usage will benefit society and the environment.” – Dallas Mavericks owner and investor Mark Cuban.
Novogratz and El-Erian were less at odds with Musk:
“My take on @elonmusk is to take him at his word. He cares about the environment and he is using his considerable influence to push BTC mining towards a greener future. Lots of companies in the space have already been working on this. Stay tuned. And buy $BTC.” – Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz.
“This unexpected development has placed pressure on #Bitcoin. @elonmusk and @Tesla were front runners in the process of private sector adoption of the #crypto #currency, opening the way for others to follow. The reasons for this apparent U-turn are not yet clear.” – Allianz chief economist and president of Queens’ College, Cambridge University Mohamed El-Erian.
Musk appears to have changed his stance
The self-proclaimed “Technoking” had only recently agreed with Twitter boss Jack Dorsey by saying bitcoin “incentivizes” renewable energy. Dorsey’s Square payments company and Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest asset management firm had collaborated on research that suggested bitcoin mining isn’t environmentally-damaging.
He now says Tesla will look at using other cryptocurrencies that take up less than 1% of bitcoin’s energy use for transactions.
Bitcoin dropped as much as 15% at one point following Musk’s tweet to trade around $46,350, but recovered to around $50,850 as of 3:45 a.m. ET on Thursday.
“In some capacity, distancing the brand from bitcoin could win some ESG love,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Financial, said.
Companies with bitcoin exposure jumped on Wednesday in lockstep with the broader cryptocurrency rally ahead of the highly anticipated direct listing of Coinbase.
“The Coinbase IPO is being met with excitement that global crypto market cap will grow by at least 50% later this year,” Edward Moya, senior analyst at OANDA, told Insider. “Each legitimate investment vehicle for cryptocurrencies is solidifying the belief that this bubble won’t come crashing down to zero.”
“All four of these have a direct benefit from bitcoin being up,” John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the company beside altcoin Avalanche, told Insider. “Others like PayPal who help facilitate the trading of crypto are up because of sentiment but they don’t actually own bitcoin.”
Wu said the stocks are now trading lower since investors are “buying the hype, selling the fact”. He added that investors may now be allocating ay from these names to the cryptocurrencies themselves.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong on Wednesday during his interview with CNBC made the case as to why the public should invest in his firm rather than straight to the cryptocurrencies.
“We are kind of what you might call an index bet or a levered bet on the crypto space more broadly,” he said.
As for Square, its founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has long been one of the staunchest advocates of bitcoin. In October 2020, Square announced it had purchased 4,709 bitcoins for an aggregate price of $50 million. The San Francisco-based company paid an average price of $10,617 for each bitcoin.
The Coinbase direct listing on the Nasdaq prompted a broader cryptocurrency rally.
“Bitcoin and the other top altcoins are making fresh record highs as large parts of Wall Street are finally drinking the Kool-Aid,” Moya said.
The Coinbase direct listing is viewed by many cryptocurrency advocates as a milestone for the digital ecosystem as it looks to continue to make headway into mainstream financial markets.
“Coinbase is the first crypto company to make mainstream waves and is already valued higher than historic financial institutions like JP Morgan. This, coinciding with crypto’s market cap surpassing 2 trillion, provides the space with much-needed stability that will reassure retail investors,” Ganesh Swami, co-founder and CEO of Covalent, a provider of blockchain data, told Insider.
The stocks were all up during premarket trading but had pared some gains late Wednesday morning. Here’s where the stocks traded as of 10:51 a.m. ET: