Who’s HODLing? Five winners from Bitcoin’s surge to almost $68,000

Who’s HODLing? Five winners from Bitcoin’s surge to almost $68,000
MicroStrategy, led by Michael Saylor, has been buying Bitcoin since August 2020. Credit: Andrés Tapia

Big corporate Bitcoin holders such as MicroStrategy and Marathon are seeing huge gains amid the cryptocurrency’s rally towards all-time highs.

According to CoinGecko, Bitcoin’s price has rallied to near $68,000 on Monday — within a few percentage points from its record 69,000 reached in November 2021.

Analysts at Bernstein are among bullish crypto watchers who say it could go much higher. The research firm has called for Bitcoin’s price to top $150,000 by mid-2025.

Here’s how the biggest Bitcoin holders are faring amid the surge.

MicroStrategy

Business intelligence firm MicroStrategy’s holdings started the year at 189,150 Bitcoin and have since climbed to 193,000 Bitcoin, worth $12.8 billion, according to data tracker Bitcoin Treasuries.

MicroStrategy has been buying Bitcoin since August 2020. Overall, the firm has spent just under $6 billion across all of its purchases. That means the company is sitting on Bitcoin worth more than double the value of what it paid for it.

MicroStrategy, helmed by staunch Bitcoin advocate Michael Saylor, is the world’s biggest private Bitcoin holder and has been buying Bitcoin as part of its business strategy.

MicroStrategy stock’s price opened higher and rose to 20% on Monday — up about 90% since the start of the year.

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Marathon

The value of Bitcoin miner Marathon Digital Holdings’s Bitcoin stack shot up to just over $1 billion on Monday. It holds 15,731 Bitcoin, up from 15,174 at the end of 2023.

Marathon is the world’s largest Bitcoin miner and holds 35% of all Bitcoin held by miners, according to CoinGecko.

Marathon’s stock is up almost 350% since last February, though its 2024 gains are relatively modest, at 22%, compared to Bitcoin’s 61% and MicroStrategy’s 115%.Bitcoin’s April halving event — when Bitcoin distributed to miners is programmatically cut in half — will slash miner profits, meaning miners face potential challenges.

Tesla

Tesla’s Bitcoin holdings this year have appreciated to $647 million, though its treasury is unchanged since June 2022 at 9,720 Bitcoin.

Tesla’s average market price for its Bitcoin purchases is $20,109, which by today’s price spells a 230% gain.

At the start of 2022, the company’s holdings were much higher before it shed nearly 30,000 Bitcoin for cash. It has pocketed $936 million from its Bitcoin sale.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has remained quiet about the company’s BItcoin holdings throughout the rally, and in December was quoted in an X spaces conversation saying “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about cryptocurrency — hardly any at all.”

Tesla stock’s price has declined 35% since a high in July 2023.

Its reported total assets at the end of 2023 were $106 billion, with Bitcoin accounting for less than 1%.

El Salvador

According to current estimates, El Salvador holds 2,381 Bitcoin worth $160 million — up 40%, according to a February X post by its president, Nayib Bukele.

Tracking El Salvador’s Bitcoin stash is difficult since the only source for its holdings is from Bukele’s X account. The country has not made its Bitcoin purchase history available to the public.

In the February post, Bukele criticised the media for writing “literally thousands” of articles about the country’s previous Bitcoin losses. He said El Salvador will not sell any of its holdings.

In June 2021, El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender. In December 2023, DL News reported that Bukele’s plan to issue $1 billion in Bitcoin-backed bonds, dubbed Volcano Bonds, received regulatory approval from the country’s Digital Assets Commission. El Salvador has also initiated a visa programme in partnership with stablecoin issuer, Tether, that will give citizenship to anyone who invests $1 million in Bitcoin or Tether.

The US government

The US Government currently holds an estimated $14.3 billion in Bitcoin, making it the largest national holder, and the second-largest holder overall.

Despite its vast Bitcoin pile, the US government differs from others in that it’s not an active market participant. It acquired most of its Bitcoin through seizures by the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service, and other government entities.

In February 2022, the Justice Department seized $3.6 billion in cryptocurrencies — including more than 94,000 Bitcoin — from a single incident involving two hackers — the biggest crypto seizure ever.

Most of the government’s holdings have connections to various cases, some of which could take years to resolve.

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