The price of popular cryptocurrency bitcoin has more than tripled over the last three months. This has sparked a recent surge in the prices of other cryptocurrencies — collectively known as alt-coins — such as Ether, the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain. Ether is up over 50% just since Christmas Day.
As a reminder, bitcoin and Ether can be bought and sold every day around the clock, whereas stocks only trade during market hours. Bitcoin and Ether have started 2021 off strong, up more than 10% and 30% respectively. A big portion of these moves came over the weekend, but stocks couldn’t move until Monday when the market opened. Now, many crypto-related stocks are making big moves. Consider these movements as of 2:15 p.m. EST:
- Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) stock was up 6% but had been up 20% earlier in the day.
- Ebang International Holdings (NASDAQ:EBON) stock was up 18% but had been up a whopping 46% earlier in the session.
- Bit Digital (NASDAQ:BTBT) stock continued its run by gaining 28%, down from its 51% increase early on.
- Canaan (NASDAQ:CAN) stock was still up 12% after pulling back from its 24% increase earlier in the day.
Each stock is going up thanks to the rising prices of cryptocurrencies. But will this always be the case?
Marathon and Bit Digital are bitcoin mining companies. The bitcoin blockchain network is decentralized and is only able to run because of the computing power supplied by operations like Marathon and Bit Digital. These are compensated for their services in bitcoin by design. Both companies can increase the amount of bitcoin they receive by increasing their computing power, either by purchasing more hardware or acquiring a fellow mining operation.
However, even without increasing computing power, it’s easy to see why it’s good for Marathon and Bit Digital when the price of bitcoin goes up. Their expenses remain the same, and they’re compensated the same amount of bitcoin. But that bitcoin is worth more, resulting in increased revenue. This is why investors are getting excited and sending these two stocks higher.
Ebang and Canaan manufacture hardware that can be used for bitcoin mining. That’s a bad business to be in when no one is buying or upgrading their equipment. Consider that Canaan’s revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was down 76% year over year to a mere $24 million. Ebang most recently gave results for the first half of 2020, reporting revenue of just $11 million, a 51% drop.
Both Ebang and Canaan reported drops in the amount of computing power sold as well. However, Canaan’s wasn’t as bad as its overall revenue drop. That said, inventory glut resulted in lower average selling prices, explaining the outsized revenue drop. But perhaps these companies are poised…