Over the weekend, the price of Bitcoin briefly fell to around $31,000, more than 50 percent down from its high last month. It has recovered somewhat and is currently trading at around $37,000.
“About $20 billion of long positions were liquidated last week,” Sam Bankman-Fried, the chief executive of the crypto derivatives exchange FTX, told the DealBook newsletter. “In terms of price movements: the biggest part of it is liquidations,” he said, suggesting the worst is over.
But he also noted news from China late Friday of a crackdown on Bitcoin mining and trading. This added to other news of official scrutiny that has spooked crypto investors in recent days, from Hong Kong, Canada and the United States.
Companies with Bitcoin on their balance sheets may be getting nervous. For accounting purposes, cryptocurrency is valued at its purchase price in company accounts. If it goes up in value, this isn’t reflected in a company’s accounts but if it falls, the value is impaired and puts a dent in quarterly profits. Three big corporate investors in Bitcoin are Tesla, MicroStrategy and Square. Here’s where they stand:
Tesla: The electric vehicle company bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin last quarter, at an average price of about $34,700 per coin, not far from its current price. Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, has signaled that the company isn’t selling, but it probably isn’t buying, either.
MicroStrategy: The business intelligence software company has spent about $2.2 billion on Bitcoin, at an average price of $24,450. The company bought more last week and is still sitting on big gains.
Square: The payments company, led by the Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, bought two batches of Bitcoin for its treasury — $50 million in October at a price of about $10,600 per coin and $170 million in February at a price of around $51,000. It took a $20 million impairment on its holdings last quarter. It doesn’t plan to buy any more, its finance chief said this month.
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