• BlockFi and Celsius were two high-profile companies that combined crypto lending and crypto mining.
• Both companies have since gone bankrupt, likely due to their heavy investments in bitcoin mining and the disastrous fallout of the past year.
• The downfall of these two companies provides valuable lessons for future entrepreneurs.
The past year has been a tumultuous one for the cryptocurrency industry. After a period of explosive growth and bullish optimism, the market has been rocked by a series of devastating events. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been wiped out, and even bitcoin mining companies have not been spared from the carnage. Two of the most high-profile businesses to suffer from the crypto crash were BlockFi and Celsius, both of which combined crypto lending and crypto mining.
BlockFi first announced its mining operations in May 2021, with a partnership with Blockstream and its long-standing mining unit. Exactly how much hash rate BlockFi was managing through Blockstream was unknown, yet the lending company viewed mining as a complement to its financial service offerings. Meanwhile, Celsius invested heavily in bitcoin mining, with $500 million spent on its mining efforts as of November 2021. In an older interview, former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky said the company was “building out a full-fledged mining operation to complement our lending business.”
Unfortunately, both companies were unable to withstand the crypto market crash of 2021 and its aftermath. BlockFi and Celsius both went bankrupt, leading to a domino effect that affected their bitcoin mining activities as well. It’s a stark reminder of how closely intertwined the entire cryptocurrency industry is, and how quickly fortunes can be reversed.
The downfall of BlockFi and Celsius provides a valuable lesson for future entrepreneurs. The combination of crypto lending and crypto mining can be a risky endeavor, and it’s important to have a solid plan in place to manage the risks. It’s also essential to have a good understanding of the market and the potential for rapid changes in the value of cryptocurrencies. By taking a cautious and strategic approach, it’s possible to reap the rewards of the crypto market without suffering the same fate as BlockFi and Celsius.
– Bitcoin had a defining year in 2022 and is at a turning point for 2023.
– The Global South is leading Bitcoin adoption and further growth is expected in Africa.
– The divide between Bitcoin and other currencies will continue to grow.
As we look back on the year 2022, it’s clear that Bitcoin has had a defining year and that we are at a turning point. All eyes are on us as the Bitcoin community and it’s our responsibility to educate people and governments about the real-life use cases that Bitcoin can offer. This will allow money to flow freely and include billions more into the global economy, and I’m ready to onboard the next billion Bitcoiners.
The Global South, especially Africa, is leading the way in terms of Bitcoin adoption. I just returned from the Africa Bitcoin Conference in Ghana, which was an incredibly inspiring event that brought together pan-Africa and international leaders to talk about the purpose of Bitcoin over its price. During this event, our team at the Built With Bitcoin Foundation opened the Bitcoin Technology Center (BTC) in Kumasi, Ghana, which will educate 400 people in its first year. Even in a bear market, trade volume in Africa continues to press forward due to the necessity of Bitcoin on the continent. The cheaper and more efficient solution that Bitcoin provides makes it a great option for people to send money back home, make payments, and preserve their wealth.
It’s also clear that the divide between Bitcoin and other currencies will continue to grow. Bitcoin is backed by human work and has proven its utility throughout the years. It has a finite supply and its use cases are becoming more and more evident. As people become more educated about Bitcoin and its benefits, the divide between it and other currencies will continue to increase.
As we look ahead to the year 2023, I’m ready to welcome the next billion Bitcoiners and I’m confident that the Global South will continue to lead the way in terms of Bitcoin adoption. It’s clear that Bitcoin is starting to cut the dead weight of speculation, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for Bitcoin and the world of cryptocurrency.
• Greenidge Generation, a bitcoin miner in New York, has reached a restructuring agreement with its lender, NYDIG, to reduce its $74.4 million debt.
• NYDIG will purchase 2.8 exahash per second (EH/s) of Greenidge’s bitcoin miners and host them, eliminating $57-$68 million of debt.
• The company had an average monthly cash burn rate of $8 million in October and November 2022, of which $5.5 million was associated with principal and interest payments to NYDIG.
Greenidge Generation, a bitcoin miner based in New York, has recently come to a restructuring agreement with its lender, NYDIG, in order to reduce its $74.4 million debt. The agreement includes the purchase of 2.8 exahash per second (EH/s) of Greenidge’s bitcoin miners by NYDIG, which will be hosted by Greenidge. This purchase will eliminate $57-$68 million of debt, leaving Greenidge with approximately 1.8 EH/s of its own miners, while requiring that the mining firm also pledge the rest of its unencumbered assets to secure the remainder of the loan.
The debt restructuring comes at a difficult time for Greenidge and other bitcoin miners, who have been hit hard by the recent drop in the price of bitcoin. Many miners had large orders fulfilled in the bull market and new hash rate contributions, but are now left with bitcoin holdings whose value has plummeted. In effect, miners have mined high and sold low.
To compound the difficulty of the situation, Greenidge’s average monthly cash burn rate during October and November 2022 was approximately $8 million, of which approximately $5.5 million per month was associated with principal and interest payments to NYDIG. This rate is expected to remain consistent for the month of December 2022, leaving Greenidge with limited time to turn things around. Without the restructuring, Greenidge would have been in danger of running out of money by March 2023.
The restructuring agreement will give Greenidge the breathing room it needs to continue its operations. However, it is important to note that the agreement only addresses the immediate financial difficulty and does not provide a long-term solution. For that, Greenidge must find ways to increase its revenue and reduce its costs in order to ensure future sustainability.
• The Africa Bitcoin Conference took place in Accra, Ghana earlier this month, and it was an eye-opening experience for Josef Tětek, the Trezor brand ambassador for SatoshiLabs.
• The most eye-opening thing for Josef in terms of local Bitcoin adoption wasn’t the conference, it was his interactions with ordinary Ghanaians in the city of Accra, who learned about Bitcoin for the first time from the conference goers.
• Hermann Vivier (the organizer behind the south-African circular economy project Bitcoin Ekasi) also visited the local beach a day before the conference began and discussed Bitcoin with locals, showing them how they can instantly receive value without any registration and immediately spend it on airtime.
The Africa Bitcoin Conference (ABC) took place earlier this month in Accra, Ghana, and it was an incredibly impactful experience for Josef Tětek, the Trezor brand ambassador for SatoshiLabs. It was at this event that Josef truly understood the importance of Bitcoin as a tool to empower the unprivileged, exploited, and suppressed. But even more eye-opening than the conference itself, was Josef’s interactions with locals in Accra.
A day before the conference began, Josef and several other Bitcoiners, including Hermann Vivier (the organizer behind the south-African circular economy project Bitcoin Ekasi) visited the local beach and spent the afternoon discussing Bitcoin with the locals. Most of them had never heard of Bitcoin before, but when they were shown how they can instantly receive value without any registration and immediately spend it on airtime, Bitcoin became a very real thing to them.
This experience made a lasting impression on Josef, and it only served to further reinforce his belief that Bitcoin has the potential to be a life preserver for millions of people around the world. In Josef’s words, “Some events in your life are so impactful that you find it hard to get back to a day-to-day reality after you go through them. My visit to this event was one such experience.”
By attending the Africa Bitcoin Conference, Josef was able to see first-hand how Bitcoin can be used to bring financial freedom to unprivileged people, and was able to interact with locals who are now actively using Bitcoin in their everyday lives. This eye-opening experience has further strengthened Josef’s passion for Bitcoin and its potential to revolutionize the financial industry.