Amid soaring Bitcoin (BTC) mining difficulty and sinking mining profitability, Colorado-based Bitcoin miner Crusoe Energy Systems has announced the acquisition of the operating assets of portable BTC mining operator Great American Mining (GAM).
The deal will see GAM’s operations integrate into Crusoe’s, adding over 10 megawatts (MW) to its mining output and around 4,000 application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) crypto mining rigs — increasing Crusoe’s capacity by about 9%, according to the company.
GAM builds and deploys portable BTC mining facilities — vehicle trailer-mounted containers enclosed with ASIC miners — with the goal of helping oil and gas companies take advantage of stranded or otherwise wasted natural gas by using it to power the facility to mine BTC.
Crusoe will have roughly 125 of these gas-powered waste containers deployed and operating following the acquisition, which it says could reduce an annual CO2-equivalent emission of around 170,000 cars.
The consolidation of these two mining operations comes as the sector faces pressure from both the traditional and crypto markets, along with an all-time high BTC mining difficulty, all of which is negatively affecting miner profitability.
Markus Thielen, head of research and strategy for digital asset services platform Matrixport, told Cointelegraph the majority of the mining hash rate moving to the United States over the last two years had “significant consequences” on how the industry was positioned into the wider economic downturn.
“Around 20 Bitcoin mining companies raised additional capital through IPOs where shareholders demanded a high correlation to the underlying Bitcoin price,” he said, explaining orders for new mining machines were placed a year in advance, which was expected to come online in the third quarter of 2022:
“The result was that mining companies bought Bitcoin directly from the market at higher costs than their mining operations and were negatively exposed to further capital expenditure investments as they placed equipment orders a year in advance.”
As miners waited for the equipment, some sold significant parts of their BTC reserves to recoup expenditures, but Thielen says “this has not been enough,” and expects an “outright industry restructuring.”
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Crypto miners such as CleanSpark have already shown to be interested in snapping up cheap assets amid tough market conditions, purchasing over 1,000 ASIC mining rigs at a “substantially discounted price” in July and 1,800 Antminer S19 XP rigs the month prior.
In September, CleanSpark went on to purchase a $33 million facility in the United States from Australian-based miner Mawson, spending an extra $9.5 million buying the firms’ 6,468 ASIC mining rigs.
Rising energy costs and the crypto bear market caused mining hosting firm Compute North to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September, with the company owing $500 million to 200 creditors with assets worth anywhere between $100 million and $500 million.