Jul 5, 2022 - Economy

Big crypto mining shop sells almost all its bitcoin

Illustration of a bitcoin surrounded by hundred dollar bills.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Core Scientific, among the largest publicly traded crypto mining operators in North America, sold almost all of its bitcoin holdings last month.

Why it matters: Crypto miners typically enjoy fat profit margins comparable to that of the luxury goods sector, but with bitcoin falling below $20,000 last month, some operators have started strategically selling crypto stockpiles to weather market turmoil.

Driving the news: The crypto mining shop sold 7,202 bitcoins at an average price of roughly $23,000, for total proceeds of approximately $167 million in June, according to the company.

  • It also said it shuttered data center operations for a total of 2,472 megawatt hours in the month.

By the numbers: Core Scientific as of June held 1,959 bitcoins; in May the shop reported holdings of 8,058.

What they're saying: "We are working to strengthen our balance sheet and enhance liquidity to meet this challenging environment," CEO Mike Levitt, said in a statement Monday.

  • Calls to Core Scientific with additional questions were not returned in time for publication.

Between the lines: Publicly traded crypto companies are getting hit with a double-whammy of stock market turmoil and declines in coin prices.

  • They also stand to suffer massive impairment charges due to an SEC accounting quirk requiring them to write down digital assets held on balance sheet to the lowest price struck for the quarter.

Details: Core Scientific owns and operates data centers in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and North Dakota.

  • The firm also has operations in Texas with plans to expand there, as well as in Oklahoma, this year.
  • Its revenue has been split roughly 50/50 between helping its customers mine crypto and mining for itself.
  • Last month, self-mining accounted for 57% of data-center capacity and mining operations, Core Scientific said.

What we're watching: We'll see what this means for Core Scientific, and other publicly traded mining firms, when the earnings show-and-tell starts.

  • Recall Canadian self-mining company Bitfarms said it sold its bitcoin pile, stepping away from its "hodl strategy" in June.

What's next: Core Scientific is expected to report second quarter earnings on August 11.

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