Newly Public Core Scientific Leads Slump in Crypto Mining Stocks

The company's shares have fallen more than 20% since it went public via a SPAC merger on Thursday.

Jan 21, 2022 at 6:28 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 21, 2022 at 7:15 p.m. UTC

Aoyon Ashraf is crypto mining reporter with more than a decade of experience in covering equity markets

Core Scientific (CORZ) has gone public at a particularly inauspicious time, with bitcoin in a prolonged slump that has seen prices fall below $40,000 for the first time in months.

As a result, shares of Core Scientific, one of the largest bitcoin mining companies by production capacity, have fallen about 22% in the last two days since going public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The stocks of other publicly traded miners, which are highly leveraged to the price movements of the cryptocurrencies they mine, have also dropped. On Friday, shares of Hut 8 (HUT) fell about 12%, Hive (HIVE) dropped more than 9%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) dipped 7%, and Marathon Digital (MARA) fell about 5%.

SPAC Merger

Austin, Texas-based Core Scientific went public on Thursday after merging with Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition in a SPAC transaction. Core Scientific has self-mining operations and hosts other mining machines in its facilities. The company operates data centers in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and North Dakota, and said that as of Sept. 30, over 50% of the power used in its operations was generated from non-carbon emitting sources.

“While there could be some volatility around the de-SPAC this week [in Core’s stock], we view any weakness as a buying opportunity,” said Wall Street investment bank D.A. Davidson’s analyst Christopher Brendler in a research note ahead Tuesday of the initial public offering. “Given Core's more diversified top line (~50% hosting), changes in our Bitcoin network estimates do not affect Core as much as other names in our miner coverage that are pure-play miners,” he added.

Brendler estimated that bitcoin will reach $56,000 by end of 2022, and that the network hashrate will hit 312 exahash per second (EH/s) over the same time period. The network’s hashrate was about 205 EH/s on Thursday, according to data analytics firm Glassnode.

Core Scientific had about 6.6 EH/s of self-mining computing power at the end of 2021, and about 6.9 EH/s for its hosting business. By comparison, Marathon Digital said on Jan. 1 that its computing hashrate was 3.5 EH/s and that it planned to increase that to 23.3 EH/s by early 2023.

The performance of miners that have recently gone public, such as Core Scientific, Stronghold Digital (SDIG), Iris Energy (IREN) and Terawulf (WULF), has been lackluster as the price of bitcoin has fallen more than 40% from its all-time high in November and competition in the sector grows.

Reasons for optimism

Investors, however, are still looking to put their money in new crypto-linked companies as there are few options in the public market, according to Marcus New, founder and CEO of InvestX, a private equity marketplace provider and fintech firm. “Market sentiment remains high partially because there are very few publicly traded options creating restricted supply at the early majority stage of the cycle for blockchain/crypto,” New said.

And as the awareness surrounding crypto, decentralized finance (DeFi), blockchain, Web 3 and the metaverse increases, so should investors' appetite to put their money in these growing businesses, New said.

“The markets need more IPOs and issuers to invest in. The public markets are highly unrepresented in this asset class,” he added.


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Aoyon Ashraf is crypto mining reporter with more than a decade of experience in covering equity markets

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Aoyon Ashraf is crypto mining reporter with more than a decade of experience in covering equity markets

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