All commodities markets have their levered investment bets. Crude oil has wildcat exploration and production companies; gold and precious metals have the mining operations out doing the dirty work in the ground. A commodity of the future, bitcoin, is no exception to the rule that when there’s a scarce resource to exploit in the world, and investors are placing increasing value on it, miners will rush in to stake their claim to the riches.
Recent gains in what may be the most high-risk bitcoin bet of all led Leeor Shimron, vice president of digital asset strategy at Fundstrat Global Advisors, to take a look at the “digital gold rush” in trading of bitcoin miners.
These mining companies are fairly new and young, they lack track records, and some came to market in “roundabout ways” — and some of the biggest, like Riot Blockchain, attracted regulatory scrutiny in their early days. They also have been operating at losses, but Shimon noted they have reached over $1 billion in market cap after investing heavily during the bitcoin downturn in the hardware and facilities that helped them to “strike it big” in the current bitcoin bull market cycle.
Shimron described the miners in a note last week to clients who expressed interest in the surging stocks as a “high beta play” on bitcoin. During the recent bull run for the cryptocurrency, during which bitcoin is up 900%, the average return among the biggest publicly traded miners was 5,000%, according to his analysis.
Bitcoin miners, in Shimron’s words, form the core backbone of bitcoin’s blockchain, as they “burn electricity to computer-generate guesses aiming to solve cryptographic puzzles” and generate revenue in the form of mined bitcoin. As the bitcoin is mined, the miners sell the assets to cover their expenses. Many choose to also hold a portion of their mined bitcoin on their corporate balance sheet, a trend which is starting to gain traction with the more digitally-oriented, disruptive CEO class in the broader market, such as Jack Dorsey at Square and Elon Musk at Tesla. Musk just added “Technoking” to his executive title and the Tesla CFO recently had “Master of Coin” added to his. The North American mining company, Marathon Digital Holdings, recently announced it had purchased an additional $150 million worth of bitcoin to hold on its balance sheet.
The largest publicly listed mining companies which the Fundstrat analyst reviewed include the two Nasdaq-listed companies, Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital Holdings, and two over-the-counter market stocks, Hive Blockchain and Hut 8.
Over the past year, bitcoin miners greatly outperformed bitcoin, a dynamic that Fundstrat Global Advisors says will continue as the bull market plays out, but could turn violently to the downside in any correction.
Fundstrat Global Advisors
Shimron’s analysis shows that the beta these bitcoin mining companies exhibit generates a return of 2.5% for every 1% move in the cryptocurrency….