MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor said that two years ago, Merrill Lynch laughed him out the door when he said he wanted to buy bitcoin.
“They said ‘not only are we not going to sell it to you, we’ll get fired if we talk about it,’ so I promptly wired $175 million to another bank," he remarked.
Now, MicroStrategy’s bitcoin holdings total over $6 billion, according to Saylor, and sometimes he finds Merrill Lynch’s crypto research in his inbox.
He and ARK CEO Cathie Wood discussed their hopes for bitcoin during a Bitcoin 2022 fireside chat in Miami. Most notably, the two agreed they’re not worried about coming regulations given recent moves from President Biden’s Administration.
“I don’t think there’s any outcome that’s not favorable for bitcoin,” said Saylor.
Wood seemed to agree, saying there’s been a radical shift in the political attitude surrounding bitcoin since she first began investing, and especially in the months since the Biden Administration took office.
“Politicians have come to me and said I want to pull together a room of bitcoin enthusiasts and learn from them what they want from us," she remarked.
She contrasted Treasury secretary Janet Yellen’s initial statements on cryptocurrency – which painted it as a money-laundering tool used by nefarious actors – to how the Treasury secretary has recently spoken about the ecosystem, still with a cautious attitude but recognizing the merits of innovation.
Wood and Saylor posited that Yellen could have been advised about the importance of keeping innovation, and crypto, in the US by Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler.
Regardless of if Gensler has advised Yellen on the importance of crypto, Wood said she feels bitcoin is definitively in the regulatory clear under Gensler’s regime.
Saylor sees the Biden Administration’s recent executive order addressing crypto’s possible money laundering risks as a green light going forward since the executive order contains no mention of forthcoming punitive action.