Marathon Acquires 200MW Bitcoin Mining Center From Applied Digital For $87.3M

Here are some of the major developments in the world of crypto over the past few days.
some of the major developments in the world of crypto
some of the major developments in the world of crypto

Marathon Digital Holdings announced on March 15 that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Applied Digital to purchase a 200-megawatt (MW) Bitcoin mining facility located in Texas for $87.3 million. The agreement specifies that Marathon will pay the purchase price in cash from its holdings, making the transaction final once all price adjustments are settled. This acquisition will increase Marathon's total Bitcoin mining capacity to about 1.1 gigawatts, nearly matching the power required to operate the "Flux Capacitor" from the Back to the Future movies.

Fred Thiel, Marathon’s chairman and CEO, commented that this transaction increases our influence over our current operations, reduces our cost per coin by approximately 20% at the site, and provides us with an additional 100 megawatts of capacity in which to expand. Following the close of this transaction and the anticipated expansion of the site this year, our Bitcoin mining portfolio will consist of approximately 1.1 gigawatts of capacity, 54% of which will reside on sites we directly own and operate, and all of which are diversified across eleven sites on three continents.

In February, Marathon unveiled a new direct Bitcoin transaction submission service. Called Slipstream, the new service was designed and implemented to facilitate and speed up large and/or non-standard transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. Next up, mining companies such as Marathon Digital will have to navigate the impending Bitcoin halving. This event, which will occur once a certain amount of blocks have been mined on the Bitcoin blockchain currently, is anticipated to occur in mid-April and could have an outsized effect on large-scale mining organizations. The rewards for mining a block will be reduced by 50% from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC per block.

Prosecutors Seek $11 Billion Judgment and 40-50 Years in Prison for Sam Bankman-Fried

Prosecutors are requesting a sentence of 40-50 years for the former CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX and so-called fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried. He has to face up to 110 years behind bars under the law. The Government’s Sentencing Memorandum, a 116-page document submitted to Judge Lewis Kaplan on March 15, details Bankman-Fried’s activities. It focuses on five key points: his scheme to make illegal political contributions, his attempt to bribe Chinese government officials, banking misconduct, efforts to deflect blame, and various obstructions of justice.

The memorandum also stated: “The defendant has failed to take genuine responsibility for his role in the collapse of FTX and the loss of customer funds.” It repeatedly compared Bankman-Fried to Bernie Madoff, the New York financier who ran the largest known Ponzi scheme in history, as well as other financial criminals. It also included four pages of accounts by victims of Bankman-Fried’s fraud of the turmoil caused by the losses the collapse of FTX caused them.

On Nov. 2, Bankman-Fried was found guilty of seven charges, including wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. His legal counsel requested the court for a maximum sentence of six and a half years. A sentence of 40-50 years, the prosecutors argued, would both reflect the seriousness of Bankman-Fried’s crimes and ensure that he does not have the opportunity to engage in fraud and deceit in the future. Sentencing is scheduled for March 28, and Judge Kaplan is not bound by the government’s recommendations in the memorandum. Judge Kaplan of the District Court of Southern New York is not required to adhere to the government’s recommendations in the memorandum. Sentencing is set for March 28.

Vanguard's CEO sticks to anti-Bitcoin ETF stance, despite inquiries

Vanguard Group's CEO, Tim Buckley, has maintained his strong opposition to Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF) despite facing criticism from customers and ongoing inquiries about the firm's plans to offer them. In a recent video published by Vanguard, Buckley cautioned against including Bitcoin BTC $69,061 ETFs in retirement investment plans, due to the asset's volatile nature. Buckley also contended "When stocks got hammered in the recent crisis, Bitcoin went right with them. And so it is speculative. Tough to think about how it belongs in a long-term portfolio."

Despite inquiries about when the investment firm might offer it to its customers, Buckley stated that the firm is adamant about not changing its stance. Following the United States Securities and Exchange Commission's approving 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs on Jan 10, Vanguard was quick to announce its decision not to offer the product to its customers. Vanguard promptly announced on Jan. 12 that it has "no plans to offer Vanguard Bitcoin ETFs or other crypto-related products."

The firm's decision has faced backlash from customers, particularly those in the crypto industry. Coinbase’s senior engineering manager Yuga Cohler announced his intention to convert his Roth 401(k) savings at Vanguard to FideliUpdatey, one of the approved spot Bitcoin ETF applicants. He criticized Vanguard's stance as "paternalistic" and not aligning with his investment philosophy. However, even though the company has no intentions of offering a crypto product, it still has significant exposure to Bitcoin indirectly, as it is the second-largest institutional holder of MicroStrategy.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Business & Money