Catching Up with the Miners: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Following a banner year in 2021, Bitcoin and other global markets have been punished as investors take risk off the table and begin to contend with an inflationary, low economic growth reality. The now infamous UST stablecoin implosion in May, followed by a few high-profile liquidations, further contributed to the systemic crash of the broader crypto universe. Naturally, Bitcoin miners have not been spared from the carnage. As second quarter numbers and management commentary roll in, it is a fitting time to catch up with the miners to see how each is faring.
Riot Blockchain continues to execute and expand capacity at its flagship Whinstone facility in Texas. Riot shut down its mining operations during July’s heat wave to curtail energy usage, but this was offset by the power credits it earned which actually resulted in higher margins than mining. Riot is currently hashing at 4.2 EH/s and expects to be hashing at 12.5 EH/s in early 2023 upon full deployment of its pipeline.
Bitfarms stumbled in the June selloff, selling 3,000 Bitcoin into a down market to pay down its credit line with Galaxy that had become distressed, and to boost its operating capital. Management recently confirmed 50MW of capacity at the company’s Argentina site will likely be energized in Q4 of 2022. By September, the company estimated 4.2 EH/s of active hashrate across their operations.
Hut 8 Mining
Unlike a few of its peers, Hut 8 did not sell any of its HODL during the liquidity crunch that troubled much of the industry. It is currently hashing at 2.92 EH/s, although ~10% of this capacity is ETH hashrate. It is still unclear how the company will navigate the upcoming “ETH merge” slated for September, in which the Ethereum network will transition to a “proof-of-stake” blockchain that does not utilize mining. The company also recently updated its shelf-prospectus, signaling a potential equity raise in the near futures.
Core is reporting consistent hashrate growth in its monthly operational updates, adding to its enormous 10.9 EH/s in proprietary mining capacity, and 8.4 EH/s in hosting capacity. Like many of the others with Texas operations, Core Scientific also participated in the July energy curtailment to support the local grid. Additionally, the company’s shares are under pressure recently after announcing a large equity raise, upwards of $200m, signaling its preference for share dilution than selling any more of its HODL.
CleanSpark proved to be one of the most liquid mining operations throughout this summer’s bear market, opportunistically buying up the distressed assets of others. The company most recently announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a turn-key mining operation in Georgia, adding 1.1 EH/s to its current 2.9 EH/s.
Marathon Digital Holdings
Marathon’s Texas expansion appears to be ramping up, as public address analysis indicates Marapool is finding blocks at around 2-3 EH/s. Management recently announced that, despite rack space concerns, it believes it has now found sufficient hosting capacity to energize its entire contracted fleet of 23.3 EH/s.
Stronghold Digital Mining
Stronghold has begun to de-lever its balance sheet, returning 26k ASICs to NYDIG to eliminate its equipment financing obligation, and restructured its debts to reduce principal payments. Management also announced plans to begin selling electricity generated at its coal refuse sites in Pennsylvania as the company now expects higher margins acting as a utility rather than a Bitcoin miner.