Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The world’s largest bitcoin mining rig maker, Bitmain, and crypto platform Anchorage Digital are expected to take equity stakes in Core Scientific (CORZ), the second-largest publicly listed bitcoin miner, as part of Core’s bankruptcy.

The company’s amended reorganization plan is subject to a vote by creditors, while many of the settlements described require court approval, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Core Scientific will buy 27,000 units of Bitmain Antminer S19j XPs, the manufacturer’s most powerful air-cooled model, for $77.1 million, according to the documents filed with the bankruptcy court. The purchase will be funded by $23 million in cash and $54 million in equity in the company once the plan is effective. The transaction reduces Core Scientific’s need for new cash by $30 million by paying for the machines partly in equity.

This is likely Bitmain’s first stake in a publicly listed miner. The firm did not respond to CoinDesk’s request for comment.

Read more: Bitmain’s S19 Bitcoin Miners Account for Bulk of Network Hashrate, Says New Research

Companies that have lent funds to Core Scientific to buy equipment can elect to either have their claims converted into equity fully, or take on secured debt in the emerging company at 80% of the value of their claims. Only Anchorage Digital, which had a $29 million loan as of the bankruptcy date, is expected to pick the equity option, according to the document.

Mass Mutual Asset Finance, Barings, BlockFi, 36th Street Capital Partners and Trinity Capital, which together held about $193 million in loans to Core Scientific as of the Petition date, are expected to opt for secured debt.

The firm is also in negotiations for $55 million equity rights offering for current holders of common stock.

Investment bank B. Riley, which lent $70 million to Core Scientific to fund the bankruptcy costs, will convert the outstanding balance of that loan to a delayed term loan and provide an additional $25 million in new financing.

If secured noteholders vote to accept the plan, they can receive either new secured debt at 75% of the value of their claims or equity. If they don’t vote to accept the plan, they will receive their prorated share of secured notes issued by the reorganized firm.

In addition, Core Scientific is negotiating a settlement with lender Foundry – which is owned by CoinDesk’s parent company Digital Currency Group – to fully recover Foundry’s claim and is awaiting court approval on a number of settlements with equipment and services providers.

Core Scientific is the world’s largest publicly listed miner in terms of total hashrate, even though Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA) is quickly catching up. It filed for bankruptcy in December 2022, at a time when most of the industry was struggling to keep the lights on amid high energy prices and a slumping bitcoin price.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.

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