Marathon Digital becomes 2nd largest Bitcoin holder among public companies, has not sold any BTC
Marathon Digital CEO Fred Thiel said on a Nov. 8 earnings call that the company is going through a “transition period” as it looks to grow from 7EH/s to 23EH/s by mid-2023.
Marathon increases hashrate
Further, the company has increased its number of Bitcoin miners to 6,000, resulting in a rise from 72 BTC mined in July to 615 BTC by October. The increase resulted in October being the “most productive month in history” for the Marathon.
However, the company’s earnings have fallen QoQ and YoY. Nevertheless, Thiel stated, “we believe Marathon has a strong foundation. This foundation is buoyed by reserves of 11,300 BTC, making Marathon the “second largest holder among publicly traded companies.” Additionally, Thiel revealed that Marathon has not had to sell any of its Bitcoin.
Marathon has increased its hashrate by 84% by bringing on miners while also moving away from the Montana plant, which used coal energy. The renewable energy mix has thus increased.
Best time to mine Bitcoin
Thiel commented that there has been “no better time to be scaling our bitcoin production… using miners that are 30% more efficient.” The Marathon CEO revealed that 60% of its hashrate will come from Bitmain Antminer “S19XP miners by the time we reach the 2023 goal of 23 EH/s.”
As a result, Marathon will use “47% less energy on a per TH basis” by utilizing these cutting-edge Bitcoin miners who are 30% more efficient than the average mining equipment. Other miners, such as S9 and S19, require energy costs of 3c and 8.5 KWh, respectively.
The integration of the S19XP miners “we’re positioned to keep the lights on when others are not,” according to Thiel. The bulk of Marathon’s capacity is S19J Pro miners.
“You’ll see a little bit of XPs coming online in Q4… the mix when fully deployed will be 66% of our hashrate… Anecdotally the S19XP is a better quality machine, it has a cooler operating range. You can run them in slightly warning climates without having to shut them down and increases the capacity for overclocking them. “
Increase energy efficiency
Looking forward, Thiel remarked that “to drive value, it’s imperative to become more effective and efficient over time.” Marathon is doing so by evaluating new technology and reducing fossil fuel use by going behind the meter at renewable power sites.
The Marathon CEO stated that the company is “striving to make Bitcoin mining more energy efficient and renewable.” It is also investigating international markets, which are becoming increasingly attractive due to innovations in the energy space.
When asked how well-positioned Marathon is to weather the bear market, Thiel stated that he expects Bitcoin to trade within an $18K – $21K range for “some time,” and it is “very well positioned to weather that storm.” Furthermore, the range is one that Marathon “feels very comfortable with.”
On whether Marathon may look to acquire other Bitcoin mining facilities, Thiel argued that the industry works inversely to many others. The “cost to replace assets goes down when times get tough… when the price of Bitcoin drops, the price of Bitcoin miners drops.” As a result, Thiel believes that buying miners from competitors means purchasing outdated technology for the most part.
Overall, the call focused on Marathon’s strong position to “weather the storm” during the bear market while highlighting the $18,000 support as the bottom of a range that the company is “comfortable with.” In addition, moving toward more efficient mining and an increased renewable energy mix are core goals for the company going into 2023.
In the last statement, Thiel warned about Bitcoin’s price at the next halving event, which is expected in Q1 of 2024.
“If Bitcoin were in say the teens at the time of the halving it would have serious implications for the whole industry.”