Bitcoin Mining Company Marathon Digital Hit With SEC Subpoena

Bitcoin Mining Company Marathon Digital Hit With SEC Subpoena

In brief

  • Marathon Digital recently released its earnings report.
  • A November 15 SEC filing divulged an SEC subpoena from Q3.
  • The Bitcoin mining firm is trying to raise $500 million to buy more miners.
  • Last week, Marathon Digital Holdings, a Las Vegas-based Bitcoin mining company, announced solid third quarter numbers, with a 76% increase in revenue from the previous quarter.

    Its most recent announcement, however, is causing investor concern.

    The Bitcoin mining firm filed a 10-Q quarterly report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today, in which it revealed that it had received a subpoena from the agency last quarter related to its Hardin, Montana, data center.

    "During the quarter ended September 30, 2021, the Company and certain of its executives received a subpoena to produce documents and communications concerning the Hardin, Montana data center facility described in our Form 8-K dated October 13, 2020," the filing states. "We understand that the SEC may be investigating whether or not there may have been any violations of the federal securities law. We are cooperating with the SEC."

    Marathon Digital is a self-mining company, meaning its sole reason for being is to mine Bitcoin using specialized hardware it owns and make a profit by exchanging the coins for cash. To remain competitive, it plans to aggressively boost its hashrate by buying up miners over the coming year; the money to fund the expansion will come from $500 million raised through senior convertible notes, a type of offering in which investors earn interest by supplying a company with cash flow.

    As it is, Marathon reported mining 1,758 BTC this year worth $113 million. In addition to the Montana data center, it deploys just over 2,000 miners at a "co-hosted facility" in North Dakota.

    Because Marathon Digital is a publicly traded mining company—like many of its cohort, it's listed on Nasdaq—it must file quarterly and annual reports with the SEC and disclose pertinent information about its finances and operations to active and potential investors. Nonetheless, the subpoena didn't get a mention in the November 10 press release.

    The price of MARA stock dipped on the 10th from a high of $79.19 to $64.12 before rebounding to $75.92 to end the week. In today's trading, it's scraping the $60 mark.

    Investors are keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency companies in light of a shifting regulatory posture under new SEC Chair Gary Gensler. But the agency has mostly been focused on stablecoins, alternatives to Bitcoin, and decentralized finance protocols on Ethereum and other networks. The SEC, under former chair Jay Clayton, argued that Bitcoin is not a security—a tradable investment contract in a venture expected to make a profit.

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