MIAMI — MicroStrategy (MSTR) CEO Michael Saylor and ARK CEO Cathie Wood gave a number of reasons for why they think bitcoin (BTC) will continue to gain adoption and increase in price in a chat at the Bitcoin 2022 conference here on Thursday.
Speaking to a packed house of the bitcoin faithful, who gave the pair a standing ovation at their introduction, Saylor and Wood laid out several political and technological reasons for their optimism about the world’s biggest cryptocurrency by market value.
On the political front, Saylor, whose company owns roughly $6 billion worth of bitcoin, said President Joe Biden’s recent executive order directing various federal agencies to coordinate their approach to regulating the sector amounted to the “president of the United States giving a green light to bitcoin.”
“If I scan the last 100 years of history [and ask] when was the last time the president of the United States directed the government to embrace a new asset class, the answer is never,” Saylor said. He described the order as Biden telling different U.S. agencies to “get educated on bitcoin and figure out how to get it incorporated into the government.”
Wood agreed that there has been growing political support for bitcoin in the U.S.
“You’re seeing the politics around bitcoin changing radically because it has become the single issue that some people are voting on, and this is becoming bipartisan,” said Wood, who envisions bitcoin reaching $1 million by 2030.
Wood did sound one note of political caution, however, pointing to China’s strong support of blockchain several years ago, only to eventually ban much of the activity around it in favor of its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).
“I don’t hear talk about that here and haven’t heard much talk about ‘hey, this is going to displace the dollar as the reserve currency of the world,’” said Wood. “That’s very good we’re not hearing that kind of rhetoric here. But I’m sure as the elections evolve, someone will raise that as an issue.”
Praise for the Lightning Network
As for the technological forces driving adoption, Saylor and Wood pointed to the growing number of platforms integrating the Lightning Network as improving bitcoin’s usefulness as a medium of exchange.
“I think every crypto exchange, if they’re going to remain viable and competitive, they need to build Lightning into their exchange,” said Saylor, citing Kraken and Cash App’s recent announcements about incorporating the Lightning Network. (Shortly after Saylor and Wood's talk, popular no-fee trading app Robinhood (HOOD) announced in Miami that it, too, was integrating with Lightning.)
Wood was similarly sanguine about the rapidly growing payments technology.
Saylor said he thinks bitcoin’s real potential will be realized when billions of people around the world have a mobile phone and an app with a Lightning wallet, and that wallet has some bitcoin on it as a store of value, and some U.S. dollars or digital euros or Chinese digital yuans on it as a medium of exchange.
“Then you’ll see tens of trillions or hundreds of trillions of dollars all moving on Lightning rails secured [on] the Bitcoin network,” said Saylor. “That’s when people will wake up and realize, holy crap, this really is going to change the world.”
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