MicroStrategy (MSTR) posted a digital asset impairment charge of $197.6 million on its bitcoin (BTC) holdings in the fourth quarter, up from a $727,000 charge in Q3, according to its latest earnings report.
The company's digital asset impairment reflects the decline in the price of bitcoin versus the price at which the bitcoin was acquired. Under standard accounting rules the value of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies must be recorded at their cost and then only adjusted if their value is impaired, or goes down. But if the price rises, that does not get reported unless an asset is sold.
The price of bitcoin began the fourth quarter at roughly $19,100 and ended the quarter (and year) at about $16,500.
That value has risen considerably thus far in 2023 as bitcoin has jumped almost 50% to just shy of $24,000. Alongside that big gain for the crypto, MicroStrategy shares – which fell 35% in 2022 – have doubled so far this year.
"Our corporate strategy and conviction in acquiring, holding, and growing our bitcoin position for the long term remains unchanged," said Chief Financial Officer Andrew Kang.
Overall for the quarter, the company posted a loss per share of $21.93 and revenue of $132.6 million, which topped consensus estimates for $131 million.
Speaking on the earnings call, Executive Chairman Michael Saylor said that though bitcoin has gone through a very rough stretch, the performance of MicroStrategy stock since the company began buying bitcoin in August 2020 is better than the major indices and mega-cap tech monopolies Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon.
UPDATE (Feb. 1, 2023 22:45 UTC): Adds Michael Saylor comments from conference call.
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