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Bitcoin Miner Marathon Digital Misses Revenue Expectations Due to Production Setbacks

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Marathon Digital, a Bitcoin mining company, fell short of revenue expectations set by Wall Street analysts in the first quarter 2024 report.

The firm cited adverse weather conditions and equipment malfunctions as contributing factors to the lower-than-expected performance.

Marathon Digital Faced Production Setbacks

Despite a year-on-year revenue growth of 223% to $165.2 million, as disclosed on May 9, the company’s performance still trailed the projected estimate of $193.9 million by 14.80%, according to investment analyst firm Zacks.

During the first quarter of 2024, Marathon Digital reported mining 2,811 BTC, valued at $176.7 million, marking a 28% increase compared to the previous year. However, this is a 34% decline from the 4,242 BTC mined in Q4 2023.

Marathon CEO Fred Thiel addressed the company’s performance on a May 9 earnings call. He said the production setbacks were due to unexpected equipment failures, particularly transformers on third-party hosted sites, high weather-related disruptions in many locations, and utility company transmission line maintenance.

The firm noted that adverse weather conditions impacted its Garden City site in central Texas and other venues, including a newly acquired Texas location as of April 2. Despite these challenges, the company operated at a “record high” of 27 exahashes per second. Thiel highlighted the company’s goal of reaching 50 EH/s by year-end, which was revised upward from a target of 35 to 37 EH/s in late April.

Thiel noted that Marathon was able to adapt and overcome operational challenges in the first quarter. The firm redistributed equipment to newly acquired sites while ongoing repairs were underway.

Marathon also introduced several new advanced products during the quarter, including Slipstream, aimed at improving Bitcoin transaction speed, and the MARA UBC 2100 control board, designed to enhance mining efficiency. Through strategic acquisitions, Marathon has expanded its mining capacity to 1.1 and currently operates at 54% of its total capacity.

Marathon’s Q1 Shares Exceeded Expectations

Marathon Digital reported first-quarter earnings per share of $1.26, which initially seemed significantly higher than Wall Street’s projected $0.02. However, these figures aren’t directly comparable because the company has adopted the newly-approved FASB fair value accounting rules. The mark-to-market adjustment was favorable, influenced by the substantial increase in Bitcoin prices.

After the May 9 report, Marathon Digital (MARA) shares dropped about 2.19% to close at $19.65, with an extra 1% decrease in after-hours trading per Google Finance. Year-to-date, the company’s share price has fallen by 14.30% since peaking at $31.03 on February 28, 2024.

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$25 Million Crypto Heist in 12 Seconds: MIT Siblings Charged with Cyber Fraud

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Two siblings who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are now facing allegations of exploiting a vulnerability in the Ethereum blockchain. The duo reportedly swindled $25 million within 12 seconds, which the prosecutors labeled as a first-of-its-kind caper.

If convicted, both of them could potentially serve sentences exceeding 20 years in prison.

  • Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28, are facing federal charges in Manhattan for fraud and money laundering.
  • The accusations stem from what prosecutors describe as a meticulously planned cyber heist executed from their computers over several months.
  • They were arrested on Tuesday in Boston and New York. Commenting on the development, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said,

“The Peraire-Bueno brothers stole $25 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency through a technologically sophisticated, cutting-edge scheme they plotted for months and executed in seconds.”

  • Both individuals attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Anton completed his Bachelor of Science in computer science and mathematics in February, while James obtained a Master of Science in aeronautics and astronautics in 2021.
  • According to prosecutors, the brothers leveraged advanced expertise acquired at a globally renowned university to manipulate Ethereum’s transaction validation process.
  • The siblings reportedly targeted Ethereum traders by fraudulently accessing pending private transactions and subsequently modifying them to acquire their victims’ cryptocurrency.
  • Upon being confronted by an Ethereum representative, authorities allege that the brothers refused to return the funds and instead laundered the funds and concealed their ill-gotten gains.
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Bitcoin Selling Pressure Subsides as Demand Stabilizes: CryptoQuant

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The price of bitcoin (BTC) has surged past the $60,000 level to the $67,000 zone due to news of a lower-than-expected inflation rate in the United States.

According to the latest CryptoQuant weekly report, bitcoin’s latest rally has also been sustained by a recent decline in selling pressure. However, demand for the cryptocurrency has yet to pick up.

Bitcoin Selling Pressure Declines

The fall in BTC selling pressure can be seen in the on-chain activity of short-term holders and the balances on over-the-counter (OTC) desks.

The BTC balance on OTC desks has stabilized since late April, indicating less bitcoin supply from market participants. The balance on OTC desks began to rise by 60,000 BTC on March 10 when the asset hit an all-time high of $73,000; however, it has been flat since late last month.

Similarly, the profit margins of short-term BTC holders are currently at low or negative levels following high margins that triggered high selling pressure in early March. Since they have depleted all profits accumulated in 2024, traders are now faced with unrealized losses on the positions. Historically, this has coincided with a local bottom in prices.

The possibility that the market has bottomed is substantiated by miners’ low profitability. CryptoQuant analysts said Bitcoin miners are extremely underpaid at the moment, and their profitability has plummeted to levels last seen since March 2020, a few days after the COVID market crash. Historically, extremely low miner profitability has been associated with price bottoms.

Demand is Yet to Pick Up

On the other hand, Bitcoin demand growth appears to be stabilizing following a month of deceleration. The rise in the BTC balances of permanent holders and large investors indicates higher demand from these market participants.

Nonetheless, BTC demand would need to surge further to enable the market to sustain the latest price rally. The demand could come from the spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) market and other Bitcoin investment funds.

Per CryptoQuant analysts, the crypto market needs a new wave of spot Bitcoin ETF purchases to refresh demand growth. Demand for these products appears to be picking up already, with the funds seeing total inflows of more than $560 million in the last two trading days.

Additionally, stablecoin liquidity growth is surging, signaling potential movement to the upside for BTC.

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Polkadot (DOT) Ecosystem Recap: The Most Recent Advancements

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TL;DR

  • Polkadot partnered with Founder Institute to launch a Web3 cohort and introduced Asynchronous Backing to enhance scalability.
  • Some of its parachains, such as Acala Network and Moonbeam Network, have also made notable advancements in security, governance, and community engagement initiatives.

Summary of the Latest Developments

Polkadot’s ecosystem continues to advance due to frequent improvements in its operations and vital partnerships. Most recently, the blockchain protocol shook hands with Founder Institute (a leading business incubator that turns ideas into fundable startups). 

The latter described the collaboration as “groundbreaking,” adding that it marks the start of “an exciting chapter” related to the launch of the first Web3 cohort in its Core Program. “Our cooperation is set to revolutionize the landscape of startup acceleration and Web3 technology education,” the team stated

Founder Institute explained that the program’s launch is set for May 28, and it will be guided by top experts from the Polkadot community. 

Earlier this month, the blockchain protocol enabled Asynchronous Backing on the network. It is a mechanism designed to improve the scalability and efficiency of the entire ecosystem. The Asynchronous Backing also represents “an optimized approach for how parachain blocks are validated” by the central chain – Relay Chain.

Polkadot’s team revealed that blocks are produced twice as fast, whereas available blockspace was boosted by 6-10 times following that upgrade.

“Async Backing boosts throughput by 8x, without sacrificing security, paving the way for supporting Web3 applications across verticals such as gaming and DeFi. It brings Web2 scale into the reach of Web3, which is crucial for large-scale platforms like Mythical Games,” they added.

Another major development that took place as of late is the release of the Join-Accumulate Machine (JAM) Gray Paper. It is a technical upgrade that outlines an innovative approach for improving the performance and scalability of blockchain networks, particularly in the context of Polkadot’s ecosystem. It combines elements of Polkadot and Ethereum and “provides a global singleton permissionless object environment.

The blockchain protocol is also looking for external partnerships such as a potential deal with the American soccer club Inter Miami. Last month, Nico Zini – the team’s commercial manager and in charge of TV rights – revealed that both sides may join forces on an $8.8 million sponsorship partnership. 

For the uninitiated, Inter Miami’s co-founder is David Beckham, while its biggest stars on the pitch include the Argentine legend Lionel Messi and the Uruguayan Luis Suarez.

Zini previously served as FC Barcelona’s Business Development Manager in North America. The Catalan club was contemplating striking a deal with Polkadot in 2022 but eventually chose Spotify.

How About the Parachains?

Some of Polkadot’s parachains – individual blockchains that run in parallel with the Polkadot ecosystem – have also advanced lately. One of the most popular – Acala Network – completed the Sinai Upgrade at the beginning of May. 

It aims to strengthen security measures, empower the community to participate in governance decisions, improve Acala’s capabilities to interact seamlessly across different blockchains, and simplify the user experience. 

Moonbeam Network introduced “the Moonbeam Odyssey Program Trials,” which emphasizes community involvement with various events and educational initiatives.

“Anyone can join! Test your skills, strengths, and abilities to emerge victorious from the Trials and become an Odyssey Trailblazer,” the team stated.

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