Michael Saylor of MicroStrategy continues to be loyal to Bitcoin (BTC-USD) above all else… While the Solana (SOL-USD) faithful are being majorly tested. Let’s dive into today’s top stories in The New Digital World.
Michael Saylor Resigns as CEO of MicroStrategy – But Not Bitcoin
When political types call for changes to the Bitcoin network – to make it more eco-friendly, for example – it’s become an inside joke to tweet something sarcastic, like: “Sure, let me take that up with the CEO of Bitcoin.” That’s exactly why BTC fans like and trust it so much: There isn’t one.
But if anyone did get the title, I’d probably have to say Michael Saylor of MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR). After all, Saylor has put $3 billion of BTC onto his legacy software company’s balance sheet! Making MSTR a proxy investment for bitcoin, and Saylor a hero of “bitcoin maximalism.”
Plus, Saylor was, literally, a CEO… Until yesterday.
Ironically: Just as BTC had turned back from sub-$20,000 towards $24,000… MicroStrategy is removing Saylor as CEO after 33 years – although he will remain Chairman of the Board.
Even more ironically: The way this was done might mean Saylor qualifies even more for the “CEO of Bitcoin” title. Here is how Saylor framed his new role, as “Executive Chairman,” while he was leading Tuesday night’s earnings call:
“My focus will be on our corporate strategy, our innovation efforts, our Bitcoin strategy and related Bitcoin advocacy and education initiatives, such as my work with the Bitcoin Mining Council.
“I will continue to act as an enthusiastic spokesperson for MicroStrategy and as our envoy to the Global Bitcoin community,” Saylor assured us. “As global adoption of digital assets accelerates, this is becoming an ever more expansive job.”
What was really painful were Bitcoin Impairment Charges of $918 million. So, “due to bitcoin price volatility,” MSTR ended up reporting -$94.01 loss per share. (It was -$30.71 in Q2 last year.)
Response: MSTR shares are up +12% after this big news day! They’re still down -44% for the year, much like other “crypto stocks.”
But given how good the Bitcoin strategy was for MSTR in 2020 and 2021, the company was still able to boast two-year stock gains of +123%. That was at least twice the performance of any Big Tech stock…five times the S&P 500…and even better than bitcoin itself – which is still +93% since August 2020.
Crypto Wallet Security in Focus as Attackers Steal $8 Million of Solana
Solana (SOL-USD) is not performing so well today: While BTC and Ethereum (ETH-USD) continue to climb, SOL is -4% after “approximately 8,000 wallets [were] drained” of funds, with thieves making off with roughly $8 million of SOL assets!
However: “It appears to be due to a flaw in certain wallet software, rather than in the Solana blockchain itself,” as the forensic investigators at Elliptic told Bloomberg. All the prominent voices on Crypto Twitter seem to agree. Like Muneeb Ali of Stacks (STX-USD), who works over in the Bitcoin ecosystem:
It’s unlikely that it’s a Solana blockchain or centralization issue. Likely a wallet supply chain or key generation issue.
Any wallet can have such problems. We can all learn lessons here.
— muneeb.btc (@muneeb) August 3, 2022
The lesson Ledger wants you to learn is: Move your crypto and NFTs into one of their “cold storage” wallets. And honestly, that’s never a bad idea.
If you’re interested: Ledger’s got a 10% off promo code for you to use. Ledger’s social-media person has been replying to tweets non-stop, assuring people that “Solana accounts secured with Ledger were not impacted, since the private keys are held offline!”
“Don’t know root cause yet,” as Binance (BNB-USD) CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted late last night. “Maybe permissions granted to apps. For remediation, send the funds to a cold wallet or CEX like @Binance.”
“Given the uncertainty behind the hacker’s potential and reach, other crypto exchanges such as Bybit have proactively suspended all deposits and withdrawal of assets on the Solana blockchain,” reports Cointelegraph. Stay tuned.
OpenSea Competitor Integrates Ethereum to its NFT Marketplace
Magic Eden signaled in June that it would go head-to-head with rival marketplace OpenSea by selling not only Solana NFTs – but Ethereum NFTs, too, and probably its companion chain Polygon (MATIC-USD) as well. The NFT marketplace wants to follow “where development is going,” as co-founder and COO Zhuoxun “Zedd” Yin said on The Block’s podcast
As of yesterday, it’s done just that and integrated Ethereum.
“Now we are bringing you two amazing communities,” declared Magic Eden in a flashy announcement video Tuesday afternoon. “Browse NFTs across ETH and SOL. Buy SOL NFTs with ETH,” and vice-versa. Do “cross-chain drops” with “fast secure trading, analytics & discovery tools, and no frozen stolen assets.”
Of course, Magic Eden was also forced to shift focus to the Solana heist. They suggested users update their Trusted Apps and Permissions, “set up a new wallet with a new seed phrase” for Solana NFTs and cryptos, “or better yet, move everything to a cold wallet/ledger.”
Anyway: Magic Eden told CoinDesk it “has ‘more than two chains planned in the long run,’ though no new integrations will be announced in the near future.”
For now, “we are entering the [ETH] market with humility and are prepared to build for a long while.”
Zooming out: All of the major collections on OpenSea are still Ethereum based, despite having integrated Solana in April. The biggest Solana NFT collections to date have been “Solana Monkey Business,” with $188 million of SOL trading volume, plus another $130 million for “Degenerate Ape Academy” and “Okay Bears” (each), according to CryptoSlam.
Not bad at all! But you can certainly see how, with Bored Apes and CryptoPunks (on ETH) topping $2 billion, NFT marketplaces would want to branch out and get their slice of the pie.
OpenSea is still nine times the size of Magic Eden. Although with OpenSea forced to lay off 20% of its staff while its rival is flush with $130 million in fresh venture capital…Magic Eden should certainly be a contender.
On the date of publication, Ashley Cassell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines. To have more news from The New Digital World sent to your inbox, click here to sign up for the newsletter.