Miners keep adding to BTC stockpiles in homestretch before halving

Industry giants Marathon Digital and Riot Platforms together have roughly $3 billion in combined cash and BTC on their balance sheets

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Artwork by Crystal Le

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Companies have less than two weeks of mining bitcoin at the current per-block reward levels, and many aim to add to or maintain the BTC levels on their balance sheets.

Mining rewards are set to drop from 6.25 BTC per block to 3.125 BTC as part of the upcoming bitcoin halving. The occurrence, which takes place every four years or so, is slated to land on or around April 20.

Read more: The Bitcoin halving is just weeks away — here’s how miners have prepared

Marathon Digital and Hut 8 have the biggest bitcoin piles among public mining companies, while Riot Platforms is close behind. 

A bunch of industry firms intend to use their BTC holdings to fuel their growth in the coming months as some of their peers are expected to struggle.

Hoarding BTC ahead of buying opportunities

Florida-based Marathon mined 894 bitcoin in March, up 7% from February. It now holds 17,381 BTC on its balance sheet, which sits alongside $324 million in cash and cash equivalents. 

The company’s cash and BTC amounted to nearly $1.6 billion combined, as of March 31. It will use the liquidity it is building “to capitalize on strategic opportunities, including industry consolidation,” the company said in a news release. 

Marathon has already started to acquire sites, this week closing its $87 million buy of a Texas bitcoin mining facility owned by Applied Digital.

Read more: Marathon Digital ready to deploy ‘dry powder’ in push to double hash rate

Hut 8 produced 231 BTC in March — a 21% decrease from 292 BTC in February. The company, which merged with US Bitcoin Corp in November, now holds 9,102 BTC. This is slightly less than the 9,110 it held at the end of February. 

Company CEO Asher Genoot noted during an earnings call last week that the size of Hut 8’s bitcoin treasury trails only MicroStrategy, Tesla, Coinbase, Marathon and Galaxy Digital, among public companies. The company said in a February statement that it planned to use its BTC reserves “to build balance sheet value and finance growth initiatives.”

Genoot told Blockworks last month that while Hut 8 would be evaluating buying opportunities, it was set to be “very cost-conscious” around the halving. 

Read more: Hut 8 eyes growth around the Bitcoin halving — but not at all costs

Riot Platforms mined 425 BTC in March — marking a slight dip from last month in terms of average bitcoin produced per day. It now holds 8,490 bitcoins on its balance sheet.   

The Texas-headquartered company ended March with about $685 million of cash — giving it $1.3 billion of total liquidity on its balance sheet when including the BTC holdings.

Riot has bought tens of thousands of mining machines in recent months as part of its strategy to reach 100 exahashes per second (EH/s) in mining capacity over the long-term. It spent $290 million to purchase roughly 66,000 machines from MicroBT in December before more recently buying 31,500 more MicroBT miners for $97.4 million in February.

CleanSpark produced 806 bitcoin in March, bringing its total bitcoin holdings to 5,021 as of March 31.

“Pair that with our current cash balance of over $300 million and we are well on our way to taking advantage of what we expect to be one of the most active merger and acquisition seasons ever experienced in our industry,” CleanSpark CEO Zach Bradford said in a statement.

The haul in the last full month before the halving marked a 24% increase from the 648 BTC it mined in February and marked a record for the company. 

The feat came after CleanSpark completed the acquisition of three data centers in Mississippi in late February — a buy that was set to increase its operating hash rate by roughly 2.4 EH/s.

Segment observers have said consolidation in the miner space is imminent, as small- to medium-sized firms with less access to capital could struggle. Bradford added that CleanSpark has the balance sheet to make the company “one of the most aggressive acquirers in the industry.”

While mining giant Core Scientific earned more bitcoin in March than its competitors, it has been selling more BTC than it has been producing in recent months. 

Read more: Core Scientific CEO: Machine buys, deleveraging key around Bitcoin halving

The company, which emerged from bankruptcy in January, mined 1,027 BTC and sold 1,114 BTC that month. It then mined 893 BTC in February and sold 952 BTC. 

That trend continued in March, as the company produced and sold 906 BTC and 981 BTC, respectively. 

“The terms of our emergence require that we sell all the bitcoin that we self-mine, so we don’t really hold bitcoin on the balance sheet,” a Core Scientific spokesperson told Blockworks in an email. “The portion of proceeds sharing rewards we receive from some of our hosting clients represents the additional bitcoin that we sell.”

Core Scientific CEO Adam Sullivan told Blockworks last month the firm is set to focus on buying machines from struggling miners unable to afford parts of their existing orders after the halving.

Smaller miners add to BTC inventories

Maryland-based Terawulf and Singapore-headquartered Bitdeer mined 379 BTC and 294 BTC in March, respectively. Both totals represented a very slight increase from February.

Meanwhile rival company Bitfarms mined 286 BTC last month, a 5% dip from the 300 BTC it had produced in February. It sold all but two of the bitcoin it produced in March.  

The decrease was due in part to participation in curtailment programs, downtime associated with facility upgrades and a 4.8% increase in network difficulty, Bitfarms said in a company statement

The Canadian mining firm held 806 BTC — worth roughly $57 million on March 31 — and $66 million in cash.

Cipher Mining generated 316 BTC in March — down from 334 BTC the month prior — as the company also cited increased network difficulty.

The firm sold eight bitcoin last month, as its inventory now amounts to 1,741 BTC.

Meanwhile Hive Digital Technologies’ bitcoin stash increased to 2,287 bitcoin after it mined 224 BTC in March. The company held 2,315 BTC as of April 4, it said.  

“Our HODL strategy is to have a healthy balance sheet similar to what we had for the last halving event in 2020,” Hive executive Chair Frank Holmes said in a statement.


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