Michael Saylor’s outlook for 2023

After stepping down as CEO of MicroStrategy to become the Executive Chairman in 2022, a role he created to be able to operate the company’s new business strategy, Michael Saylor, an entrepreneur and vocal supporter of Bitcoin, has spoken about his plans for the company in 2023.

In a recent interview with Eric Weiss hosted on Twitter Spaces, he talks about the future of MicroStrategy and what his new role will involve, discusses bitcoin maximalism and announces that in 2023 the company will release software powered by Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.

Who is Michael Saylor and what is MicroStrategy?

Michael Saylor graduated from MIT in 1987 in aerospace engineering and founded MicroStrategy, a business intelligence and software company in 1989. He is also the founder of Saylor Academy, a non-profit that offers free online education.

After some initial doubts about Bitcoin, Saylor revealed in 2020 that he personally owned BTC. He has since made several media appearances promoting Bitcoin, released a Bitcoin “corporate playbook” to guide corporations through the process of acquiring bitcoin, and created the website hope.com, a repository of resources on Bitcoin.

Saylor announced in 2020 that his company was acquiring bitcoin as part of a long term strategy for its balance sheet, which involves accumulating as much bitcoin as possible and holding it forever, a strategy he described as being the corporate version of “stay humble and stack sats”. As of the end of 2022 MicroStrategy has since accumulated 132,500 BTC making it the largest bitcoin holding by a public company, way ahead of companies such as Marathon Digital Holdings with 10,055 BTC and Tesla with 9,720 BTC.

In response to questions about MicroStrategy recently selling 704 BTC, Saylor clarified that this was for tax loss harvesting purposes, stressing that he and MicroStrategy are, and always will be, Bitcoin maximalists.

… we’re maximalists, we think that Bitcoin is more than just ‘a’ digital monetary network, we think it’s ‘the’ digital monetary network, it’s good for the human race and anything we can do in order to encourage adoption of Bitcoin and to help with the adoption of Bitcoin is going to be good for the world.

Michael Saylor

Why is he changing roles?

Saylor, who is still the controlling shareholder of the company, explained that overseeing the company’s Bitcoin strategy has become a “full time job” and that his new role as Executive Chairman will allow him to focus on promoting Bitcoin education and developing software solutions around Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.

The role of CEO has been handed to Phong Le, described by Saylor as “very good at what he does”, allowing the business intelligence company to have a “full-time hands-on leader”.

MicroStrategy’s Lightning plans for 2023

The Lightning Network is a permissionless, decentralized and open-source second layer solution for Bitcoin. It makes use of a network of pre-funded payment channels to enable a high volume of transactions at a very high speed for almost free. It has been growing exponentially over the recent months and is now used at scale by companies like Strike in order to operate international money transfers.

Describing Bitcoin as the underlying base layer of the new monetary system and Lightning, its second layer solution, as “the internet of money”, Saylor shared that he has teams currently working on developing Lightning tools, some of which are to be released in 2023.

He is leveraging MicroStrategy’s expertise in enterprise software to create an “enterprise deployable Lightning wallet” which will enable companies to easily monetize their web applications and revolutionize online marketing.

A visualisation of the Lightning Network’s payment channels

MicroStrategy, which built some of its brand around providing intelligent customer-facing marketing solutions, envisions leveraging the Lightning Network in order to offer sign-up bonuses and promotions directly to customers through a browser extension. Saylor hopes to onboard millions of new users a month to the monetary network, allowing companies to offer satoshis as a reward for posting reviews or completing surveys. He also says that Lightning will give any website the ability to add a payment function and monetize content with Bitcoin.

Saylor also touched on the ability to restrict and protect access to sensitive corporate websites, by mandating a security deposit in bitcoin over Lightning in order to be granted access, an idea he already suggested could be a way of fighting spam on social media websites such as Twitter.

During the interview, Saylor also highlights that the problem with traditional payment rails such as credit cards is their cost and latency. The Lightning Network does not carry this friction, and Saylor wants MicroStrategy to be at the forefront of the financial revolution and help enterprises build Lightning infrastructure at scale “in the matter of an afternoon”.

Listen to the full interview on Twitter or YouTube.

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