Bitcoin miners revamp strategies, Etherscan-Solscan deal, and more

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With the prospect of institutional capital flowing into the Bitcoin ecosystem through exchange-traded funds (ETFs), companies and executives are revamping their business strategies for 2024. 

Bitcoin mining company CleanSpark, for instance, has disclosed plans for an in-house trading desk, which means it will have its own team managing and trading its large Bitcoin (BTC) holdings instead of relying on external brokers or financial firms.

The approach could reduce the costs associated with trading while encouraging more miners to set up trading desks and capitalize on their holdings. Marathon Digital Holdings used a similar strategy with crypto derivatives, primarily selling BTC call options, according to Bloomberg.

Another company seeking to capitalize on the Bitcoin hype is MicroStrategy. The firm has been loading up its BTC reserves, even leading some analysts to label its stock as “essentially a leveraged Bitcoin ETF.”

Aside from the growing anticipation for a Bitcoin ETF in the United States, this week’s Crypto Biz also explores the Etherscan-Solscan deal, Bitcoin ATMs declining, and the biggest winners and losers among crypto entrepreneurs of 2023.

Bitcoin miner CleanSpark to launch in-house trading desk: Report

United States-based Bitcoin miner CleanSpark plans to set up an in-house trading desk sometime in 2024 to maximize returns from its BTC holdings. According to the firm’s CEO Zachary Bradford, CleanSpark will use its “large Bitcoin” balance of 2,575 BTC, which is worth around $116 million at current prices. The company plans to make strategies based on regulated crypto offerings, such as the option contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or its affiliates. CleanSpark posted $168 million in revenue during the fiscal year that ended in September 2023.

Michael Saylor begins selling $216 million in MicroStrategy stocks for more Bitcoin

Michael Saylor, the executive chairman of MicroStrategy, has initiated a four-month plan to sell $216 million of his shares in MicroStrategy, with a portion of the proceeds potentially going toward Bitcoin purchases. As per a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 2, Saylor revealed that he had commenced the sale of his 315,000 stock options awards, originally granted to him in April 2014. These stock options are set to expire on April 30, 2024. In MicroStrategy’s third-quarter earnings call on Nov. 2, 2023, Saylor said he planned to sell 5,000 MicroStrategy shares daily for the next four months, which will go toward addressing “personal obligations” and increasing the amount of Bitcoin he owns. MicroStrategy has also been adding Bitcoin to its balance sheet. The company’s holdings of the cryptocurrency have grown to 189,150 Bitcoin, worth nearly $8.5 billion at current prices.

Etherscan acquires Solana block explorer Solscan amid SOL rally

Etherscan, known for its Ethereum blockchain explorer, has announced the acquisition of Solscan, a block explorer focused on the Solana ecosystem. Founded in 2021, Solscan reports serving over three million monthly users. Its block explorer has many features familiar to Etherscan users, including detailed address, token and transaction data, APIs, dashboards and nonfungible token metadata. The companies did not disclose the sums at stake in the deal. Etherscan’s latest acquisition comes amid a significant surge in the price of Solana’s (SOL), the native cryptocurrency of the Solana blockchain. The price rally has reignited speculation about whether the SOL token could one day overtake Ether (ETH). 

New year rings in with 11% shrinkage in installed Bitcoin ATMs

After a decade of annual increases, the global count of Bitcoin ATMs has declined by approximately 11.1% from the beginning of 2023. Data from Coin ATM Radar shows that as of Jan. 1, 2024, the total number of cryptocurrency ATMs stood at 33,628, a drop from the 37,827 recorded a year earlier. Throughout 2023, the number of Bitcoin ATMs experienced fluctuations in growth and decline, ultimately resulting in a decrease by the end of the year. A consistent monthly rise in installations has been observed since Coin ATM Radar began monitoring cryptocurrency ATMs in October 2013, reaching an all-time high of 39,376 in August 2022.

Before you go: Discover some of the biggest winners and losers in crypto in 2023 on Cointelegraph’s crypto entrepreneurs roundup

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