Bitcoin Miner Marathon Digital Pays Off Silvergate Revolving Credit
The company also reiterated its expectation to have 23 exahash per second of computing power around the middle of 2023.
Marathon Digital (MARA) fully paid off $30 million in revolver loans during December, freeing up 3,615 bitcoins (BTC) that had been pledged as collateral, according to its monthly update.
The lender on the revolver was Silvergate Capital (SI), which earlier on Thursday announced it saw digital-asset deposit withdrawals during the fourth quarter of $8.1 billion as it continues to reel from the fallout of crypto exchange FTX's collapse. Silvergate shares were recently down 46%.
Marathon's move is the latest in a series of similar actions from bitcoin miners to reduce their debt obligations through payments or restructurings as the bear market continues to take a toll on the industry.
The company's unrestricted bitcoin holdings are now 7,815 (about $130 million), and total bitcoin holdings – after production of 475 bitcoins in December – are up to 12,232. Unrestricted bitcoin holdings on Nov. 9 (prior to the FTX collapse) had been just 1,950. Marathon has repeatedly hinted at its intentions to sell some of its mined bitcoin, but hasn't done so yet. Its shares were recently down 4.1%.
As of Sunday, the company had an operating mining fleet of 69,000 rigs with 7 exahash/second (EH/s) in computing power. Marathon continues to expect to have installed computing power of 23 EH/s sometime around the middle of 2023.
As for Silvergate, the crypto lender had ties to crypto exchange FTX, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 11. To counter the deposit outflows in the fourth quarter, the bank said it has sold $5.2 billion of debt securities, resulting in a $718 million loss.
Silvergate had previously lent funds to Marathon through two different debt instruments. One is the revolving credit facility, which Marathon reduced from $30 million on Nov. 30 to zero by year end and which was initially signed in October 2021. The other is a term loan agreed to last August.
Marathon didn't respond to a request for comment about how much of the term loan was outstanding at the end of 2022.
Marathon spokesman Charlie Schumacher told CoinDesk in November the company had drawn about $100 million roughly equally from both debt instruments, meaning $50 million could still be outstanding with Silvergate.
Marathon's plan initially, Schumacher said, was to draw on the term loan to pay down the credit line, but FTX's collapse and resulting market uncertainty forced a rethink, with the company instead deciding it was a better idea to deleverage its balance sheet.
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