Bitcoin (BTC) miners are adding significant capacity, with the 16 largest publicly listed mining companies accounting for 16% of total BTC mined, broker Bernstein said in a research report Thursday.
Bernstein says their combined mining capacity is currently 72 exahashes per second (EH/s), and notes the firms are planning to increase that by 182% in the next 2-3 years.
“However, the larger miners with low cost of production and low debt are likely to be the big beneficiaries of capacity addition, with greater capacity to withstand any bitcoin price volatility and cost spike from upcoming bitcoin halving in Q1 2024,” analysts led by Gautam Chhugani wrote.
The bitcoin price is currently in the vicinity of $30,000, and 15 of the companies have production costs below $15,000 per BTC, the report said.
“With the upcoming halving, that would double the cost of production, and would push a few miners to break-even, assuming no price increase from here,” the analysts wrote.
Still, if the market sees positive momentum from bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) approvals and increased institutional participation, that would give miners enough “margin room” for the 2024 halving, the note said, adding that the “lower the cost of production, better the miner positioning for the bitcoin halving impact.”
The broker notes that three of the miners have a debt-to-equity ratio of more than 1, which reduces their ability to withstand depressed bitcoin prices.
Four – Riot (RIOT), Marathon Digital (MARA), Hut 8 (HUT) and Hive Digital (HIVE) – hold bitcoin on their balance sheet. This allows these firms to wait for higher prices before selling, and make greater realized gains on the crypto they have mined, the note added.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.