Marathon Digital, a leading Bitcoin mining company, has revealed that it received a second subpoena from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to its 100-megawatt data center in Hardin, Montana.
The subpoena, received on April 10, concerns transactions with related parties that took place during the creation of the facility. The SEC is investigating potential violations of federal securities laws. Marathon has stated that it is cooperating with the SEC’s investigation.
This is the second subpoena received by Marathon regarding the Montana facility. The company received its first subpoena late in the third quarter of 2021, which required Marathon to produce several documents and communications related to the facility. Marathon has declined to provide further comments on the matter.
The news of the subpoena caused Bitcoin prices to drop, with the cryptocurrency trading at $27,413. The subpoena adds to the growing regulatory scrutiny of the crypto industry, particularly around its environmental impact and potential security issues.
Marathon’s announcement of a partnership with digital assets infrastructure company Zero Two to create a large-scale immersion Bitcoin mining facility in Abu Dhabi may be seen as a response to the regulatory challenges it faces in the US. The facility would consist of two mining mines with a combined 250-megawatt capacity, and Marathon noted that its “custom-built immersion solution” would be sufficient to ensure the mining rigs remained cool.
The move to Abu Dhabi may also be a response to the Biden administration’s proposed tax for crypto miners operating in the US. The tax would require miners to pay 30% of the cost of any electricity used while mining for crypto. Marathon’s move to Abu Dhabi could allow it to avoid the tax while continuing to mine Bitcoin.
The news of the subpoena and the move to Abu Dhabi highlight the increasing regulatory challenges facing the crypto industry. As governments around the world look to regulate the industry, companies like Marathon may need to look for alternative locations to operate from. The move to Abu Dhabi also highlights the environmental challenges of Bitcoin mining, with the company needing to find ways to keep its mining rigs cool in a hot climate.
Companies like Marathon will need to find ways to navigate these challenges, including potentially moving operations to other countries. As the industry evolves, it will be important for regulators to find a balance between protecting investors and allowing for innovation and growth in the sector.