Hurl whatever skepticism you want at Bitcoin, but the process of mining the cryptocurrency is, well, stupidly profitable.
That’s according to my colleague, Shawn Tully on the space.
As the price of Bitcoin has skyrocketed, some top miners have taken advantage of low-cost energy sources to clock operating margins upward of 70%, he estimates. That may also have been helped by China, where nearly 50% of mining activity is concentrated, which cracked down on the practice and gave more market share to existing players outside of the country.
Here he is, discussing Canada-based Bitfarms: “So what’s the run rate for Bitfarms’ overall operating margins, encompassing not just mining costs but the other relevant expenses? At mid-day on August 4, Bitcoin’s price had rebounded to over $39,000. At its current output of 400 coins per month, Bitfarms run-rate for revenue is approximately $190 million a year. Its mining costs of electricity and infrastructure remain around $20 million a year. By winning twice as many coins without paying more for power and facilities, it cut mining costs per coin in half from $8,400 to $4,200. In the first quarter, its annualized depreciation and amortization was $12 million and [selling, general, and administrative] expenses were $11 million. All told, its yearly operating expenses appear to be in the $43 million range. If so, its operating profits are clicking at around $150 million a year. That gives Bitfarms an operating margin in the 75% range.
Why not use net income? Operating income after all does not include taxes or financing expenses in the calculation. But as newer companies, net income may skew too heavily to account for these startup costs.
Still, as Tully notes, the good times are unlikely to last, as more folks seek to capitalize on crypto mining. Read more.
SPEAKING OF CRYPTO: There is a battle brewing over crypto’s status in the infrastructure bill in Washington D.C. A provision of the bill could impose tougher tax enforcement on cryptocurrency transactions, with industry proponents saying it could also impact bitcoin miners and stifle innovation if not properly clarified.
ALSO ON THE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: Credit rating giant Moody’s yesterday agreed to acquire RMS,a climate risk analysis firm, for about $2 billion from Daily Mail and General Trust. That comes as businesses are increasingly looking to understand the potential impact of climate change on their properties, supply chains, and beyond. But it’s not just companies that are paying attention. Aside from that trend, during our conversation, Moody’s CEO Rob Fauber also pointed to yes, the infrastructure bill. Some $492 million of the bill appears earmarked for mapping and forecasting inland and coastal flooding, with another $50 million for predicting wildfires. Fauber notes that he would “love to partner with the government on that.”