MicroStrategy Books Impairment Charge of $197.6M on Bitcoin Holdings in Q4

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.

Late in the quarter, MicroStrategy made some (previously reported) modest net purchases of bitcoin (BTC), bringing its holdings to 132,500 bitcoins at a total acquisition cost of roughly $4 billion. The value of those tokens were worth about $1.84 billion at the end of the year.

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 CFO 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.