Canadian investors will soon be able to get exposure to the rapidly growing market for the specialised computer components that power the world’s Bitcoin mining farms. Hut 8 Mining Corp., backed by Bitfury Group Ltd., is poised to launch on the TSX Venture Exchange in Toronto later this month. Bitfury is the main competition to the Chinese mining rig manufacturing behemoth that is Jihan Wu’s Bitmain Technologies Ltd.
According to investor documentation reported by Bloomberg, Bitfury already has 172 megawatts of data centers around the world and are responsible for mining over a million BTC. It’s estimated that their most recent annual revenue was in excess of $350 million. However, this pales in comparison to Bitmain’s market dominance. One source estimated that as of early December, the company were responsible for around 50% of the overall hashing power on the entire Bitcoin network. This is somewhat of a concern for a network that is supposedly completely decentralised.
Sean Clark, the CEO of Hut 8 told Bloomberg about the listing and of the opportunity to redistribute cryptocurrency mining:
“Hut 8 is a proxy for Bitfury in North America, that’s all it is… [The listing] is about access to capital and scale… We found a perfect vehicle to capitalise incredibly quickly. Bitfury now is going to rebalance the global network.”
The CEO is referring to the concentration of mining that has occurred in China over recent years largely thanks to Bitmain’s dominance. Being largely an experiment in decentralised consensus finding, such a concentration is for many the anti-thesis of what Bitcoin was supposed to achieve. Recent news about a crackdown in the cryptocurrency industry in China, plus the increased financial clout Bitfury will be able to wield following the listing should go someway to redistributing mining across the planet.
Lucas Nuzzi, an independent researcher on cryptocurrency at the New York-based Digital Asset Research elaborated on the issue of mining centralisation:
“It’s a serious centralisation concern because dependency upon a single hardware provider goes against the ethos of Bitcoin.”
The name chosen for the new listing, Hut 8, is an amusing reference to this ongoing battle for dominance in the cryptocurrency mining industry. Hut 8 was the name of the World War II data centre in which the mathematician Alan Turing finally broke the enigma code, hugely impacting the outcome of the entire conflict in favour of the Allies.
Hut 8 will be 49% owned by Bitfury with the other share being divided between various insiders and private investors. According to a presentation document, longtime crypto bull Mike Novogratz will also back the venture.
When asked about recent market volatility affecting the profitability of the new listing, Clark responded with optimism:
“We are long-term bullish on the price of Bitcoin so we expect volatility like this to occur.”