Publicly-Traded Bitcoin Miners Continue To Outperform

Shares of publicly-traded bitcoin mining companies continue to outperform, with many of them up big this week.

The below is from a recent edition of the Deep Dive, Bitcoin Magazine‘s premium markets newsletter. To be among the first to receive these insights and other on-chain bitcoin market analysis straight to your inbox, subscribe now.

Shares of publicly-traded bitcoin mining companies continue to outperform, with shares of Riot Blockchain (RIOT), Hut 8 Mining Corp (HUT), Marathon Digital Holdings Inc (MARA) and Bitfarms Ltd (BITF) up big during Thursday’s trading session.

It was announced this week that trillion-dollar asset manager Fidelity had purchased a 7.4% stake in Marathon Digital on July 22 to add to four of its index funds. The news of Fidelity’s acquisition came following Marathon’s announced intention of purchasing 30,000 Antminer S19J Pros for $120.7 million.

Overall, bitcoin miner valuations continue to skyrocket, and have actually outperformed the price of bitcoin in a substantial way since the May 2021 market liquidation event. 

Publicly-Traded Miners Denominated In BTC Since May 2021

Publicly-Traded Miners Denominated In BTC Since May 2021

Since the start of 2020 in particular, miner stocks have outperformed by a wide margin.

While it is important to note that investing in mining stocks (obviously) does not offer the same freedom and flexibility that comes with acquiring and holding bitcoin the bearer asset, it is notable that miners seem to function as high beta bitcoin during an upcycle.

Publicly-Traded Miners And BTC Performance Since 2020 

Publicly-Traded Miners And BTC Performance Since 2020 

Another increasingly bullish trend that has been developing over the past couple months has been the steady increase in bitcoin held in miners’ wallets. Due to the steep decrease in miner difficulty following the mass miner exodus out of China, profit margins have increased significantly for the remaining operations able to stay plugged in.

Bitcoin in miner wallets has increased by 6,2018 since June 9.

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Marathon Digital Buys Another 30,000 Bitcoin Mining Rigs

Key Takeaways

  • Marathon Digital has agreed to buy 30,000 Antminer S19j Pros from Bitmain.
  • The purchase will increase Marathon’s total hashrate by 30%.
  • The move comes as an increasing number of Bitcoin mining companies look to expand their operations in North America.

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Marathon Digital has agreed to purchase 30,000 Bitcoin mining machines from producer Bitmain in a deal worth over $120 million. 

Marathon Digital Increases Mining Capacity

Marathon Digital has bought 30,000 Bitcoin mining rigs from Bitmain. 

The North American mining company announced the purchase of 30,000 Antminer S19j Pro miners in a press release Monday. 

The mining machines, manufactured by Beijing producer Bitmain, each have a theoretical hashrate of 100 TH/s (terahashes per second) for a total of 3 EH/s (exahashes per second) across all the new machines. Once deployed, the Antminer S19j Pros will bring Marathon’s total hashrate to 13.3 EH/s, around 12% of the entire Bitcoin network hashrate as of Aug. 1. 

Commenting on the recent purchase, Marathon CEO Fred Thiel stated:

 “With this new order, we are growing our operations by 30% to approximately 133,000 miners, producing 13.3 EH/s. As a result, once all miners are fully deployed, our mining operations will be among the largest, not just in North America, but globally.”

Based on current delivery schedules, the new mining machines are set to ship from Bitmain between January 2022 and June 2022. 

Following China’s crypto crackdowns in June, America has become an attractive destination for Bitcoin miners. Along with Marathon Digital, other American mining companies are also aiming to capitalize on the decrease in mining difficulty caused by China’s crackdowns. Another leading Bitcoin miner, Genesis Digital Assets, recently announced a $125 million fundraise to further expand its operations in North America. The announcement comes after Genesis bought an additional 10,000 mining machines in June. 

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Chinese miners who are able to relocate are also eyeing U.S. states such as Texas, thanks to crypto-friendly legislation. In June, Texas authorized state-chartered banks to offer customers custody services for cryptocurrencies, making mining in the state easier. Additionally, Texas is well suited to address recent environmental concerns surrounding Bitcoin mining by offering easier access to renewable energy sources for mining operations. 

Despite recent market turbulence, Bitcoin mining remains a lucrative business. With U.S. state governments taking a liberal stance regarding cryptocurrency mining, North American companies like Marathon Digital are well-positioned to expand into the gap in the market left by China’s regulatory crackdown.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this feature, the author owned BTC and ETH. 


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Bitcoin Mining Company Marathon Will Stop Censoring Transactions, Start Signaling For Taproot

Bitcoin mining firm Marathon has announced its pool will stop mining only OFAC-compliant blocks and start signaling for Taproot activation.

Mara Pool, the bitcoin mining pool operated by digital asset technology company Marathon Digital Holdings, will update its miners to the latest Bitcoin Core 0.21.1 software to signal for Taproot activation, and stop censoring transactions, according to a press release.

“Marathon is committed to the core tenets of the Bitcoin community, including decentralization, inclusion, and no censorship,” said Marathon’s CEO Fred Thiel. “Over the coming week, we will be updating all our miners to the full standard Bitcoin core 0.21.1 node, including support for Taproot. By adopting the full standard Bitcoin core node, we will be validating transactions on the blockchain in the exact same way as all other miners who use the standard node.”

The announcement comes in great contrast to Marathon’s actions in the past few months. In late March, the company announced its bitcoin mining pool would filter transactions to mine blocks compliant with U.S. regulations, including anti-money laundering (AML) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) standards, effectively censoring transactions. And earlier this month, the company successfully mined its first “compliant” block.

Thiel later added that “[Marathon] looks forward to continue being a collaborative and supportive member of the Bitcoin community and to realizing the vision of Bitcoin as the first decentralized, peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users rather than a central authority or middlemen,” per the release.

Taproot is a soft fork to the Bitcoin network that could improve Bitcoin’s privacy and scripting capabilities. For example, the upgrade could make smart contracts more efficient and private by only revealing the relevant parts of the contract when spending. Additionally, it could improve Lightning Network privacy by making Lightning channels look like regular bitcoin transactions.

Taproot’s current deployment method is called Speedy Trial, a variation of BIP9 versionbits described in BIP341. The process is characterized by miners and mining pools helping coordinate the deployment of the soft fork by signaling its support in their mined blocks. If 90% of blocks in a signaling epoch of 2,016 blocks between May and August show support for Taproot, the soft fork gets locked in as a Bitcoin protocol upgrade for November.

According to data from, 240 blocks have been mined in the current signaling epoch at the time of writing –– an only six have not signaled for Taproot activation. Therefore, over 97% of the present epoch’s mined blocks have signaled support for the upgrade.

But not all of Mara Pool’s mined blocks have signaled for Taproot activation –– amounting to half of the total of non-signaling blocks in this epoch. However, by upgrading its miners, Mara Pool might start signaling for Taproot as early as next week, according to the release, leaving Bitcoiners very optimistic about the soft fork’s activation.

If Mara Pool indeed stops censoring transactions and Taproot gets locked in as a Bitcoin protocol upgrade for November, the year 2021 would be etched in Bitcoin’s history as a vital year for the network, bringing improvements in privacy, fungibility and scripting capabilities while laying the foundation for further improvements down the road.


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Compute North To Host 70,000 Marathon Bitcoin Miners At Texas Data Center

Marathon Digital holdings will house 73,000 mining rigs at a Compute North data center being built in Texas.

A press release issued today by Marathon Digital Holdings, Inc. has indicated that the company will house roughly 73,000 of its bitcoin mining rigs at a new 300 megawatt Compute North data center being built in Texas.

The release also noted that Marathon’s hash rate is expected to reach 10.37 exahashes per second, its average mining costs will be $0.0453 per kilowatt hour and its operations will be approximately 70% carbon neutral.

“Under the terms of the agreement and based on specified requirements being met, Marathon will provide Compute North with an 18-month bridge loan of up to $67 million, in tranches, to construct the facility,” per the release. “The initial term of the contract is three years with increases capped at 3% per year thereafter.”

Marathon said in the release that this development will help establish the firm as the largest, most efficient and most environmentally-conscious Bitcoin miner in North America.

“Compute North is a long-term partner of ours, and by expanding our working relationship with them through this new agreement, we have now secured economical hosting arrangements for all 103,120 of our previously purchased Bitcoin miners,” said Fred Thiel, Marathon’s CEO, per the release.

Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy and a significant Bitcoin influencer, commented on the announcement via Twitter, highlighting the environmental implications.

“Marathon is acting decisively to expand its U.S.-based mining capacity in a carbon neutral fashion,” he wrote. “Publicly-traded Bitcoin miners like $MARA are going to drive standards of excellence for other miners around the world and lead the way on ESG initiatives.”

Earlier this year, Compute North forged an agreement to host Bit Digital bitcoin miners. And Marathon elicited controversy from the Bitcoin community by effectively censoring Bitcoin blocks and mining an Office of Foreign Asset Control- (OFAC) compliant block.


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Mara Pool And Bitcoin Mining Censorship

The hosts of “The Van Wirdum Sjorsnado” discussed Mara Pool, bitcoin mining pools that censor blocks and what Bitcoiners could do about this.

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In this episode of “The Van Wirdum Sjorsnado,” hosts Aaron van Wirdum and Sjors Provoost discussed the emergence of Mara Pool, the American Bitcoin mining pool operated by Marathon Digital Holdings, which claims to be fully compliant with U.S. regulations. More generally, van Wirdum and Provoost discussed the prospects of mining censorship, what that would mean for Bitcoin and what can be done about it.

Mara Pool claims to be fully compliant with U.S. regulations, which means it applies anti-money laundering (AML) checks and adheres to the sanction list of the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). While details have not been made explicit, this presumably means that this pool will not include transactions in its blocks if these transactions send coins to or from Bitcoin addresses that have been included on an OFAC blacklist.

Van Wirdum and Provoost discussed what it means that a mining pool is now censoring certain transactions, and they went on to expand on what it could look like if this practice gets adopted more widely. They considered what censoring mining pools could accomplish if they ever get close to controlling a majority of hash power, and what Bitcoin users could potentially do in such a scenario (if anything).


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Marathon Mines Bitcoin Block That’s Verified As Compliant With U.S. Regulations

Marathon Digital Holdings, one of the largest enterprise Bitcoin self-mining companies in North America, has successfully mined its first “clean” block.

In late March, the company announced that it would be launching the first North American Bitcoin mining pool fully compliant with U.S. regulations, including anti-money laundering (AML) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC’s) standards.

“While institutional interest in Bitcoin is accelerating, many large funds and corporations have expressed concerns over purchasing bitcoin that may have been tainted by nefarious actors,” said Merrick Okamoto, Marathon’s chairman and CEO, in the announcement.

Marathon mined its first “clean” block five days after the company began directing 100% of its 10.37 exa hash per second (EH/S) hash rate to the “compliant” mining pool. In the announcement, the firm shared that it expects to entirely switch to the new pool by the first quarter of 2022 and will start accepting other U.S.-based Bitcoin mining companies to join the pool on June 1, 2021.

Marathon can filter transactions using an exclusively-licensed technology from DMG Blockchain. As such, the pool refrains from processing Bitcoin transactions from people listed on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN).

The company’s ability to select which transactions it includes in a block seems contrarian to Bitcoin’s philosophy for many in the space. Bitcoin miners shift transactions and vary the “nonce” in an attempt to find a valid block hash, and are usually economically incentivized to pick transactions based on their fees.

Censoring Bitcoin transactions at the mining level has been fairly uncharted territory up to now, and it is unclear what the ramifications could be. It is arguably dangerous to some vital Bitcoin properties as a medium of exchange, such as its fungibility and censorship resistance. If some coins get treated differently than others based on government regulations, and that could pose a challenge to the free exchanging of bitcoin worldwide.

In abiding with AML and OFAC standards, Marathon is effectively censoring people from participating in the network. OFAC has historically taken action against Bitcoin wallet addresses associated with sanctioned individuals. The office’s first publication of that kind involved two Iranian nationals described as individuals that “U.S. persons generally are prohibited from dealing with.”

On the other hand, the mining business is a purely free market. Miners can join and leave as they see fit and validate whichever blocks they choose. Their actions, and most other Bitcoin participants’, are dictated by the game-theoretic nature of monetary goods. As free-market believers, most Bitcoiners ultimately trust that the market will handle itself, with game theory helping it gravitate to the most efficient side.

It is also important to note that Marathon’s is not a particularly influential mining pool. The company’s hashing power accounts for less than 6% of the total Bitcoin hash rate at the time of writing, per

Therefore, Marathon’s decision to mine only “clean” blocks currently pose a minimal threat to Bitcoin users having their transactions censored. The mining pool would need a much more significant share of Bitcoin’s hash rate to start causing an actual impact. And most miners, which are mostly geographically dispersed outside of the U.S., have little to no reason to discriminate transactions based on American legislation.


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The blacklist: Marathon only mining ‘fully compliant’ Bitcoin transactions

Major U.S.-based mining firm Marathon Digital Holdings has announced the launch of what it describes as the first North American Bitcoin mining pool that is “fully compliant with U.S. regulations.”

According to a March 30 announcement, the pool adheres to U.S. anti-money laundering guidelines and rules set out by the Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC. Marathon will ensure the transactions processed by its pool meet regulatory standards by using technology exclusively licensed by DMG Blockchain allowing transfers to be filtered.

The firm will begin diverting 100% of its current hash power to the new pool from May 1. Marathon’s new pool also plans to begin accepting hash power pooled from other U.S.-based miners from June 1. By 2022, Marathon expects to have deployed 103,120 miners to direct 10.37 exahashes per second, or EH/s, to the mining pool — equal to roughly 6.4% of the Bitcoin network’s current combined hash rate.

By avoiding transactions executed by individuals on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, Marathon claims its operations will be entirely regulatory compliant.

The announcement does not specify how DMG’s technology identifies whether transactions have been issued by individuals blacklisted by the Treasury Department.

Merrick Okamoto, Marathon’s chairman and CEO, asserted that despite the recent surge in institutional interest surrounding Bitcoin, a lack of regulatory assurances has deterred many firms from participating in Bitcoin mining:

“While institutional interest in Bitcoin is accelerating, many large funds and corporations have expressed concerns over purchasing Bitcoin that may have been tainted by nefarious actors.”

“While we appreciate some miners’ appetite for processing transactions indiscriminately, it is our belief that as a publicly listed company based in the United States, and as one focused on enabling more institutional adoption of Bitcoin, it is our responsibility to follow U.S. regulations,” he added.

Despite the apparent reluctance of institutions to participate in Bitcoin mining, analysts believe some U.S. investors have been speculating on the stocks of major mining firms as a way to access regulated exposure to the BTC markets.

Last week, Cointelegraph reported that Bitcoin mining stocks had outperformed BTC by 455% on average over the past 12 months, gaining roughly 5,000% over the same period that Bitcoin rallied 900%.

Fundstrat’s vice president of digital asset strategy, Leeor Shimron, speculated: “Until a Bitcoin ETF is approved, investors may view public mining companies as one of the only ways to get exposure to Bitcoin.”