China’s Crypto Mining Ban Is Great News for Marathon Digital

The last couple weeks have been painful for cryptocurrency investors. After touching highs of almost $65,000 earlier this year, Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) briefly plummeted below $30,000. Among cryptocurrency stocks, Marathon Digital (NASDAQ:MARA) stock remained relatively resilient.

a crypto mining rig

Source: Mark Agnor / Shutterstock.com

Over the last month, MARA stock has trended higher by 24%. During the same period, Bitcoin has declined by 11%. Clearly, the stock has been an out-performer and the resilience at higher levels shows that the stock is attractively valued.

It’s important to note that panic selling presents investors with a long-term buying opportunity. Cathie Wood’s Ark ETFs purchased 214,718 shares of Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN). Additionally, the ETFs also mopped up one million shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTCMKTS:GBTC). MARA stock has risen and declined several times in the past several weeks, offering several good accumulation opportunities with multiple growth catalysts.

Implication of China’s Mining Ban

A key reason for the sharp downside in cryptocurrencies is the recent Bitcoin mining ban by China. However, the mining ban seems to be good news for Marathon Digital.

To put things into perspective, China accounted for 65% of the world’s total Bitcoin mining. Another important fact is that 900 new Bitcoins are mined per day.

For miners, the allocation of Bitcoin depends on the share of the total hash rate. Clearly, if the number of miners decline, the existing miners are likely to get more Bitcoins at the same hash rate.

This explains the rise in MARA stock in the last month. The coming quarter might provide some indication on the level of gains for Marathon Digital after China’s mining ban.

Of course, this positive is partially offset by the fact the Bitcoin has tumbled from highs. However, Marathon Digital is likely to hold most of the Bitcoin. Once there is a renewed rally, the total balance sheet liquidity profile is likely to improve.

Growth Acceleration in 2022

Another catalyst for MARA stock is the potential revenue acceleration in 2022. For Q1 2021, the company had 6,800 active miners.

However, Marathon is targeting 103,120 miners by Q1 2022. The company believes that this would represent 6.4% of the global Bitcoin hash rate. However, with the Bitcoin mining ban in China, the share of the global hash rate would certainly be higher.

Further, Marathon believes that the company can mine 55 to 60 Bitcoins per day once all the miners are active. If Bitcoin reaches $55,000, this would imply an annualized revenue potential of $1.1 billion. Even if Bitcoin is at $35,000, it would imply an annualized revenue potential of $700 million.

Clearly, Marathon is positioned for strong top line growth in the next 12-24 months. I am therefore not surprised that MARA stock has remained firm at higher levels.

It’s also worth noting that the company can sell Bitcoin or hold it in the balance sheet. In any scenario, the company’s financial flexibility will increase significantly in the coming quarters. This will allow Marathon Digital to pursue possible diversification.

From a financial perspective, Marathon has $218 million in cash and cryptocurrencies. This gives ample flexibility to pursue aggressive growth in the next few years. Beyond this period, internal cash flows are likely to support expansion activities.

It’s very unlikely that Marathon will focus exclusively on mining in the coming years. As an example, decentralized finance is getting bigger, and there might be other growth opportunities.

Conclusion for MARA Stock

Marathon Digital is already the first North American Bitcoin miner that that adheres to anti-money laundering standards. This is a key advantage at a time when regulatory headwinds pose the biggest risk for cryptocurrencies.

Overall, MARA stock is attractive at current levels. In the coming quarters, the EBITDA margin is likely to improve coupled with growth in cash flows. Further, as the company’s cash buffer swells, there will be growth and diversification opportunities.

On the date of publication, Faisal Humayun did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Faisal Humayun is a senior research analyst with 12 years of industry experience in the field of credit research, equity research and financial modelling. Faisal has authored over 1,500 stock specific articles with focus on the technology, energy and commodities sector.


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