5 Charts Showing How Brutal 2022 Was for Public Bitcoin Miners
Some Bitcoin mining companies might be going bankrupt, but others are hanging onto massive treasuries
Jiap/Shutterstock.com modified by Blockworks
Some bitcoin miners are still hoarding loads of bitcoin — more to dump or more to hold?
Bitcoin (BTC) has booked a decent rally to start the year, jumping as much as 29% and giving a much-needed morale boost to cryptocurrencies as a whole.
There’s likely few digital assets operators as relieved as bitcoin miners — especially those with leftover debt obligations from 2021’s bull market.
Blockworks analyzed bitcoin production reports from nine public mining companies to gauge how they fared last year.
The firms — including Marathon Digital Holdings, Riot Blockchain, Argo Crypto and Hut 8 Mining — altogether represent roughly 20% of Bitcoin hashrate.
First up is a chart of their BTC treasuries. Fears of widespread miner capitulation have persisted ever since cascading liquidations wrecked hedge funds and crypto lenders in mid-2022.
But collectively, our nine Bitcoin miners have maintained similarly-sized treasuries as in December 2021 — when BTC was just coming down from its $69,000 record highs. They held 31,392 BTC ($605 million) as of last year’s end, down less than 4% from a year earlier.
That’s despite Austin-headquartered Core Scientific — historically the largest public miner by hashrate (and by a wide margin) — declaring bankruptcy after dumping most of its BTC in June.
The firm held as much as 9,618 BTC ($385 million then, $185 million now) a few months earlier.
How much BTC did each miner mine last year?
Core Scientific, which has continued mining operations throughout its restructuring, produced the lion’s share of BTC, as expected, or 15,464 BTC ($299 million).
That represents an estimated 5% of all bitcoin issued throughout the year. Marathon, Bitfarms and Riot all brought in similar hauls, just shy of 6,000 BTC ($116 million) each.
Of the nine, Argo mined the least with 2,371 BTC ($45.8 million). The London-headquartered firm in December warned investors that it’s teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
On the selling front, the largest bitcoin dumps were disclosed in June of last year.
The analyzed companies together sold around 12,000 BTC ($361 million then, $232 million now) throughout the month — led by Core Scientific and Bitfarms, which sold around 7,200 BTC and 3,350 BTC, respectively.
Do Kwon’s failed algorithmic stablecoin had depegged in May, triggering rolling liquidations across the ecosystem for the next few months — not just bitcoin miners.
From there, our miners would go on to offload an of 4,900 BTC ($94.5 million) a month for the rest of the year. German outfit Northern Data notably revised its holding strategy to greenlight BTC sales in June, now selling all of its generated crypto every month.
Jaran Mellerud, analyst at bitcoin mining services firm Luxor, told Blockworks that Northern Data is “basically all-in on crypto mining,” despite projecting a focus on the more general high-performance computing.
“The company operated several mining facilities in Europe that are now unusable due to the high electricity prices,” Mellerud said. Northern Data recently said it was in the process of relocating its ASIC miners to “energy price optimized locations.”
Bitcoin mining stocks track each other
While production, revenue and profitability drastically differ from miner to miner, their share prices are heavily correlated.
All the companies’ share prices underperformed against bitcoin, which fell about 60% throughout the year. Riot, the best performing stock analyzed, shed 71%.
Core Scientific was the worst performing bitcoin mining stock we checked — losing 99% of its value. No shock there.
For scale, the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 stock index tanked 30% throughout the year, as depicted by Invesco’s popular ETF QQQ in the chart below.
With share prices down or decimated across the board in 2022, one might wonder how to properly value each company now.
The nine firms were altogether worth $11 billion at the start of 2022. Now, they garner a combined market capitalization of $3.64 billion — almost $7.5 billion up in smoke.
Riot sits as the most valuable public bitcoin miner worth $1.29 billion, as of Jan. 13, followed by Marathon with about $895 million, per TradingView.
Northern Data clocks in at third at $320 million, down 80% from its near-$1.6 billion valuation at the start of 2022.
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