Med tech stock Semler Scientific takes bitcoin play from MicroStrategy’s book, surges 30%

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Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Semler Scientific, a little-known medical technology company, saw its shares surge Tuesday after it said it has adopted bitcoin as its primary treasury reserve asset, taking a page out of MicroStrategy’s playbook.

The company, which develops products used in the detection of peripheral arterial disease, also announced a purchase of 581 bitcoins for about $40 million, inclusive of fees and expenses.

The stock soared 30% Tuesday, while bitcoin traded lower by about 2%, according to Coin Metrics. Semler, which has a market capitalization of about $210 million, is down more than 30% this year.

“Our bitcoin treasury strategy and purchase of bitcoin underscore our belief that bitcoin is a reliable store of value and a compelling investment,” Eric Semler, Semler’s chairman, said in a statement.

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Semler Scientific surges after announcing bitcoin treasury strategy

“We believe it has unique characteristics as a scarce and finite asset that can serve as a reasonable inflation hedge and safe haven amid global instability,” he added. “Given the gap in value between gold and bitcoin, we believe that bitcoin has the potential to generate outsize returns as it gains increasing acceptance as digital gold.”

The move puts Semler in the same company as MicroStrategy, which began employing an aggressive bitcoin-buying strategy in 2020 and has primarily traded as a proxy for the crypto’s price since then. That stock is up about 163% this year.

MicroStrategy launched as a provider of enterprise software. This February, the company said it would shift its company focus and brand to bitcoin development.

On Tuesday, Semler said the company will continue to focus on its core medical products and services, and that as it continues to generate revenue and free cash flow from sales of its blood flow tests, it will proactively evaluate its use of excess cash.

Tesla and Block are also among the companies that keep some amount of bitcoin on their balance sheets.

Bitcoin is up 60% this year and is trading near its record. Many see adoption by corporate treasuries as a better indicator of intuitional adoption, versus big-name funds holding and potentially trading the cryptocurrency.

The trend has yet to take off in a big way, however, due to regulatory uncertainty and ESG considerations.

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