Green bitcoin miner crashes, takes Aussie billionaire with it

An Australian software billionaire and climate change activist has likely taken a hit after a ‘green’ bitcoin mining firm he invested in saw its share price plummet by 94%.

Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes owns shares in Iris Energy, a New South Wales-based sustainable mining firm that claims to use renewable energy to power its data centers and mining equipment. The firm was valued at $28 per share last year when it listed on Nasdaq.

However, the company’s share price now sits at just $1.68 due to the firm’s inability to repay the debt it needs to finance the Chinese equipment it bought from Bitmain Technologies.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Iris saw an 18% drop on Monday, hitting a low of $1.55 a share. This collapse came after American creditors, specifically New York Digital Investment Group, demanded more than $107.8 million in loan repayments.

This failure to keep up repayments isn’t a surprise to Iris, with its co-founder Daniel Roberts telling the Nasdaq earlier this month that it had “insufficient cash flow to service debt financing obligations.”

“The limited recourse equipment financing arrangements have been a recent focus for us,” Roberts said (via the Daily Mail).

“We remain committed to exploring a way in which we may be able to allow the lender to recover its capital investment, however, we are also mindful of the current market and that these arrangements were deliberately structured to minimize any potential impact on the broader Group during a protracted market downturn,” he added.

Cannon-Brookes, estimated to be worth somewhere in the region of $8.5 billion, is famed for his environmentally-friendly stance. The entrepreneur has previously been heavily involved with SunCable, an ambitious project that aims to supply solar power from Australia to Singapore, and has worked extensively with the Australian government on steering the country’s green agenda.

Many major minors are now underwater

Iris isn’t the only bitcoin mining company finding the going particularly tough at the moment.

An investigation by Protos in October showed that big US-based bitcoin miners are facing mounting financial pressure that’s forcing them to offload their currency faster than they can mine it.

Read more: Pressured bitcoin miners can’t sell the dip fast enough

Indeed, due to a current liquidity crisis in the industry, bitcoin miners’ daily revenue is sitting at 2020 levels or around $13.53 million every day but they are still being forced to sell off their coins at levels not seen since 2016.

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