Marathon Digital Sells Mined Bitcoin for First Time to Monetize Recent Rally

Marathon Digital (MARA), one of the largest publicly traded bitcoin miners, sold 1,500 bitcoin in January - first time ever - to monetize the recent rally in the crypto market.

The miner said in a release on Thursday that the decision was made to cover some of its expenses. "With bitcoin production increasing and becoming more consistent, we made the strategic decision to sell some of our bitcoin, as previously planned, to cover some of our operating expenses and for general corporate purposes," Marathon’s Chairman and CEO Fred Thiel, said in a statement. The company still holds about 11,418 bitcoin in its reserve.

The move bring the miner's strategy inline with some of its peers, including Riot Platforms (RIOT), which started selling some of its mined bitcoin last year. Marathon was among few remaining miners who continued to hold onto its mined bitcoin, even after indicating that it may sell at some point. The decision likely came after the price of bitcoin rose about 40% in January. The miner intends to continue to sell some of its mined bitcoin this year, to fund its monthly operating costs, according to the statement.

The miners had an operating hashrate or computing power of 11 exahash per second (EH/s) in January and plans to reach 23 EH/s near the middle of 2023, the statement said. Bitcoin network's hashrate is currently around 282.55 EH/s, implying Marathon has about 4% of the global computing power.

Marathon said it mined a record 687 bitcoin, which is up 45% from December of last year. "The improvement in our bitcoin production was primarily a result of our team’s ability to work in tandem with the new hosting provider in McCamey, Texas, to address the maintenance and technical issues at the King Mountain data center that had suppressed our bitcoin production in the fourth quarter of 2022," Thiel said.

The shares of the miner rose on Thursday with the broader market. However, the shares fell about 4% in after-market trading as bitcoin lost some of its momentum from the earlier rally.

Read more: Jefferies Downgrades Bitcoin Miner Marathon Digital on Construction Delays