Solar-Powered Bitcoin Miner Aspen Creek Raises $8M Despite Bear Market
A new solar powered bitcoin miner, Aspen Creek Digital Corp. (ACDC), raised $8 million in a Series A funding, led by crypto financial services company Galaxy Digital and blockchain investment firm Polychain Capital.
The miner will use the proceeds for its second Texas mining facility,which will have 30 megawatts (MW) of mining capacity and be co-located with an 87MW solar farm, the company’s CEO Alexandra DaCosta told CoinDesk. The facility is on track to be operational later this fall.
The funding comes as bitcoin miners struggle to survive the bear market caused by macroeconomic uncertainty , which has led to narrowing profit margins and a spike in energy costs. Most recently one of the largest bitcoin mining data centers, Compute North, filed for bankruptcy, citing crypto winter, supply-chain issues and trouble dealing with its biggest lender.
Additionally, investors are shying away from capital intensive crypto businesses such as bitcoin miners, making capital raises difficult. However, ACDC was able to secure the funding by using the “power first” approach, in which the company secured power and infrastructure first for its mining operations before looking to raise money - a contrast from what some other miners have done.
“We weren't the only bitcoin mining company that was looking to raise, but our model was different [than others],” DaCosta said. “A lot of the headwinds that we were seeing in the capital markets actually made our investors more interested in our story,” she noted, adding that ACDC’S approach allowed the company to control mining power costs. .
“When investors saw the markets reeling from the run up in energy prices, the fall in the price of bitcoin, and how exposed a mining company can be - those dynamics actually made our story go from a PowerPoint to real life,” Da Costa added.
ACDC’s use of renewable energy and ability to sell excess power back to the grid particularly attracted Polychain Capital. “We’re excited to partner with ACDC as they build out more long-term, fixed-cost renewable energy production to enable more predictable Bitcoin mining operations, while providing the flexibility to sell excess power opportunistically into volatile energy markets,” PolychainCapital founder Olaf Carlson-Wee, said. “It’s great to witness Bitcoin’s ability to incentivize renewable power production at scale, and we think ACDC is at the forefront of these efforts,” he added.
In August, Polychain Capital also invested in a Berkeley Calif.-based company, Vespene Energy, that converts methane gas released from landfills into power for bitcoin mining.
ACDC, which was founded in January, started its operations in June at a 6 megawatt (MW) solar-powered facility in the western part of Colorado and co-located at a solar farm that has a mining capacity of 10MW. Meanwhile, Galaxy allocated some of its own miners to be hosted at ACDC’s first facility.
The mining company didn’t disclose its valuation withthe new raise, but Da Costa said she is happy with the numbers, given the tough funding market. “What mattered to us was being able to raise funds to keep our project pipeline on track,” she said.
She added that rather than the valuation she was more focused on forging relationships with strategic investorss who can help the company grow.
The company also has a third project in the pipeline, which will have 150MW mining capacity and be co-located with a 200MW solar farm. The facility is also located in Texas and expected to come online next summer.