Bitcoin miner Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA) mined 1,245 bitcoin in May, up 77% from previous month with the help of its proprietary software.
“The increased production was due to an increased hash rate and a significant increase in transaction fees, which accounted for approximately 11.8% of the total bitcoin we earned in the last month," CEO Fred Thiel said in a press release on Friday. The miner also increased its operational computing power by 9% to 15.2 exahash/second (EH/S), according to the statement.
Thiel attributed the majority of the increase to Marathon's proprietary software in an interview with CoinDesk TV on Friday. The software gives Marathon the "ability to control the output of the machines, the uptime of the machines, scaling up and down the hash rate of the machines," he said.
Marathon operates its own mining pool, "which means that there can be fluctuations in bitcoin production to the expected value," said Ethan Vera, chief operating officer at mining services firm Luxor Technologies.
In early May, miners saw an uptick in revenues thanks to higher transaction fees due to popularity of Ordinals. The protocol enabled added functionality on the bitcoin blockchain, such as non-fungible tokens and memecoins, driving up demand for block space. As a result, fees miners rake in for processing transactions surpassed block rewards in early May.
"Ordinals significantly helped large scale miners like Marathon," said Vera.
The 77% increase in Marathon's May bitcoin production could likely be attributable to the fact that it wasn't running its machines at full capacity during April, such that it potentially had a lot of room to increase its production in the following month.
In fact, the miner said in April that its monthly 15% decrease in bitcoin production was due to increased difficulty on the network, luck and "to a lesser extent, curtailment activity."
Marathon in the previous month produced markedly little bitcoin per exahash, which can be partly attributed to downtime of its mining machines. In April, Marathon mined 50 bitcoin per exahash of computing power, the least out of 14 publicly listed miners. In comparison, during April, peer CleanSpark (CLSK) mined 78 bitcoin, Riot Platforms (RIOT) had 61 and Hive Blockchain (HIVE) produced 81 bitcoin per exahash.
Marathon shares on the Nasdaq were flat on Friday, outperforming some of the peers while bitcoin rose about 1.3%.
UPDATE (June 2, 21:30 UTC): Adds comments from Luxor's Ethan Vera, updates stock performance.
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