MINING

Crypto Companies Continue to Drop on Contagion Fear

What happened 

More than two weeks after FTX started to collapse, the crypto market hasn’t come close to recovering. In fact, the risk seems to be rising as investors are questioning if exchange Genesis will survive the current decline and if there could be fallout with parent company Digital Currency Group and sister companies like Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. 

The market has pushed shares of Coinbase Global (COIN -8.55%) down as much as 10.3% today to its all-time low, while Silvergate Capital (SI -2.39%) is down 6.6%, Hut 8 Mining (HUT -9.68%) has fallen 12.9%, and Canaan (CAN -9.05%) is down 10.1%. Shares of the stocks are down 9.5%, 5.4%, 9.7%, and 10.1% respectively at 2:45 p.m. ET. 

So what 

Coinbase and Silvergate are caught up in the market’s selling of crypto because they’re an exchange and bank, respectively, so they have been bucketed with a business like FTX. And if the market is in fact less active over the next few years, it’s likely their businesses will suffer. 

The fallout from Grayscale is more in depth. The stock is trading for around a 40% discount to the value of the Bitcoin the trust holds, in part because investors questioned whether those funds were safe. Coinbase, which holds custody of the trust’s assets, released a document today saying that it holds 635,000 Bitcoin for the trust, along with more than a dozen other tokens.

Given Grayscale’s discount to net asset values, the company has been trying to find ways to unlock its trust, potentially by becoming an ETF (which the SEC has fought) or other means. And investors are worried that if that much Bitcoin is unlocked, the market price of the cryptocurrency will rapidly drop. 

This is where Bitcoin mining companies like Hut 8 Mining and Canaan come in. They’re dependent on a high Bitcoin value to make money, so a major trust like Grayscale dumping around $10 billion of Bitcoin would be terrible news for their businesses, which are already down because of Bitcoin’s drop over the past year. 

Now what 

There’s not a lot the market likes about the crypto industry right now. Investors are selling everything, despite not every company having similar risks. 

Coinbase continues to be arguably the best-run exchange in the crypto universe, with additional revenue streams from cloud services and a stablecoin. If cryptocurrencies survive, which many investors may be questioning right now, this is a company that will do well. 

Silvergate, Hut 8, and Canaan are in a more precarious position. We know Silvergate’s deposits are declining, and that’s not good for any bank. And the drop in the value of Bitcoin may make it tough to run any mining operation profitably. 

Long term, I think the crypto industry has a lot of potential, but a lot of leverage and speculation is getting flushed out of the system right now. That’s causing stocks to drop, and the decline looks like it may not be over anytime soon. 

Travis Hoium has positions in Coinbase Global, Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bitcoin and Coinbase Global, Inc. The Motley Fool recommends Silvergate Capital Corporation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Traciwininger
Author: Traciwininger

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