Marathon Doubles Loan Borrowing Capacity to $200M as Mining Rigs Sit Idle

The firm doubled its credit from Silvergate Bank even as Marathon's operations are facing severe downtime and delays.

AccessTimeIconAug 2, 2022 at 2:37 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:34 p.m. UTC

Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA) refinanced an existing $100 million line of credit from Silvergate Bank (SI) and added another one of the same size from the same lender, the miner said Monday, despite having thousands of bitcoin (BTC) mining rigs sitting idle.

Marathon's ability to refinance stands out because crypto prices have fallen so much this year, putting the company and other bitcoin miners on shakier financial ground. The lending market has also dramatically cooled down as the U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates. The Silvergate credit line gives Marathon flexibility to navigate the market volatility.

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  • Marathon noted on Monday that it hadn't drawn any of the initial Silvergate credit line, which was set to expire in October. The two facilities are secured by bitcoin and will expire in June 2024. The new term loan includes a delayed draw facility, meaning Marathon can draw $50 million at the time of closing and another $50 million 270 days after closing, the press release said. The term loan comes with a variable interest rate, which is currently set at 7.25%, the firm said.

    When Marathon announced its initial revolving credit facility from Silvergate in October 2021, its active fleet of miners stood at 25,272. At the end of June, it counted only 6,300 active miners, according to its June operational update.

    The firm has 29,640 bitcoin mining rigs waiting energization in in West Texas, it said in the update. This is largely because hosting firm Compute North's energy provider is waiting for federal regulators to approve its tax-exempt status, Marathon said. Compute North hosted about 20,000 of Marathon's machines as of the end of June and is set to host 68,000 by the end of Q3. About 4,200 of these rigs were scheduled for activation on April 17, according to a previous press release.

    However, Marathon said in July that it secured around 254 megawatts (MW) in new hosting agreements, which could increase up to 324 MW. That includes 200 MW, or about 66,000 mining rigs, signed with Applied Blockchain for sites in Texas and North Dakota. Marathon "believes it has now secured ample hosting arrangements to support the Company’s previously stated goal of approximately 23.3 exahashes per second (“EH/s”)" of bitcoin mining computing power in 2023, the firm said.

    In addition to the Texas energization delay, about 75% of Marathon's active fleet was left without power after a storm damaged its energy supplier in Hardin, Montana, in June. The approximately 30,000 miners in Hardin were mostly undamaged, the company said.

    "The ground crew at Hardin continues to make progress as they work to bring the power plant and our miners back online in a reduced capacity," the firm said in its June update.

    Asked about updates on Texas and Montana on Monday evening, a Marathon Digital Holdings spokesperson pointed to the company's upcoming second-quarter earnings and call, set to take place on Aug. 8. The firm “may have additional information to share at that time,” the spokesperson said.

    Marathon also stands out among the industry as it has yet to sell any of its bitcoin holdings. Other mining firms have converted their mined bitcoin to U.S. dollars to fund operations and pay off loans.

    Last week at the Mining Disrupt conference in Miami, Marathon CEO Fred Thiel revealed an analysis that showed miners stand to benefit in the long term from selling half of their mined bitcoin, compared to "hodling" all of their production or selling daily.

    UPDATE (Aug. 2 2022, 02:38 UTC): Adds Marathon comment in ninth paragraph.


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    Eliza Gkritsi

    Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk contributor focused on the intersection of crypto and AI.