30 Admired Companies to Watch 2021
Cryptocurrencies have been in circulation for over a decade now. But recently they have become more popular than ever before. As cryptocurrencies break their market caps - a market in which Bitcoin represents close to two thirds - the broader community is realizing the potential of decentralized currency as the next way of payment or procuring assets.
Decentralization requires an ecosystem of miners, nodes, node operators, etc. Bitcoin is currently the leading and the most popular cryptocurrency globally, built on a decentralized platform. Hut 8 is one of the leading Bitcoin mining firms. We had a conversation with Hut 8’s CEO, Jaime Leverton, to learn more about the company and her thoughts on the future of Bitcoin.
Tell us about the history of Hut 8 Mining Corp. How has the organization developed over the years?
Hut 8 is one of North America’s oldest and largest bitcoin miners with one of the highest installed capacity rates in the industry and is one of the top 5 largest holders of self-mined Bitcoin of publicly traded companies in the world. We were recently ranked 11th (of 10,000) on the 2021 OTCQX® Best 50 and our leadership team is continually looking for ways to challenge traditional approaches in order to find innovative, powerful, industry-leading solutions - a mindset now being applied to our ESG, carbon footprint reduction strategy and revenue diversification to grow shareholder value regardless of Bitcoin’s market direction.
Founded in 2017, Hut 8 was proudly the first cryptocurrency-focused company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2018. Since then, we’ve established ourselves as a leading global Bitcoin miner on an upward growth trajectory and have been consistently building our talent roster to support our continued momentum.
What are the factors that determine whether bitcoin mining is a profitable venture?
Key factors for profitability in Bitcoin mining are efficiency and the cost of operating. The efficiency of your equipment affects both factors because it impacts the cost of electricity as well as the rate at which you can mine. Cutting-edge equipment is a prerequisite for efficient mining and achieving the hash rates necessary to lead the pack. The Bitcoin mining industry revenue is at a high, which is partly due to the recent appreciation of Bitcoin’s value. Along with that increase in value comes a huge demand for itcoin mining hardware, and the demands significantly outweigh the supply. This creates lengthy lead times – sometimes close to one year - for large equipment orders, and it means new equipment is being sold at a huge premium.
Hut 8’s proactive fleet management strategy is based on a consistent equipment refreshment cycle, meaning 25 percent of the hardware is always being updated. This allows us to avoid huge capital expenditure balloons resulting from purchasing new equipment in a bull market and saving on electricity costs because we can do more, faster, with less.
Please walk us through the technology that made Hut 8 Mining possible.
Since its outset, Hut 8 has always maintained a mixture of new, cutting-edge technology and highly profitable legacy equipment. Our focus has been on the successful management of our legacy equipment to maximize efficiency while also bringing in new hardware as a part of our proactive fleet management strategy. We rely on application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and high-performance computing (HPC) to run our advanced application operations reliably, quickly, and efficiently.
Getting started in the world of Bitcoin mining isn’t easy. Even people who understand how blockchains work might find themselves deceived in the early days. How do you help such novice miners?
Hut 8 is an institutional mining company, and our miners are experienced energy engineers and experts in their field. That said, one of Hut 8’s priorities is to support even broader adoption of Bitcoin by consistently sharing information and operational updates with our investors. Some of those investors are well-versed in cryptocurrency and blockchain, but for others, we have an opportunity to share information that helps simplify what blockchain means and is.
Mining crypto—especially Bitcoin—is an electricity-intensive process. Indeed, it’s so intensive that crypto is now starting to feel the heat from ecologists. They argue that mining is beginning to have an incredibly negative impact on the environment. How sustainable is your solution for mining?
Sustainability is a major priority for myself and the Hut 8 leadership team., We are actively exploring solutions to improve energy efficiency and reduce Hut 8’s environmental footprint. Bitcoin mining relies on computers, and the reality is those computer networks require significant electricity.
Ensuring our fleet is armed with cutting-edge equipment is one way to improve efficiency and decrease electricity use. We’re also fortunate to have Hut 8 mining operations in Alberta - a favorable location where we have strong government relationships, cold weather and can use a mix of natural gas and wind power instead of coal to power our network.
The crypto world is awash with scams, some of which affect the mining industry. How do you protect the interest of your customers in such cases?
As Bitcoin miners, we create the blockchain, so we ourselves play a part in the Bitcoin network’s security. Hut 8 provides value by appreciating the substantial Bitcoin holdings on our balance sheet, which means we take the burden of protecting our investors’ digital assets. We protect Hut 8’s Bitcoin holdings offline using cold storage with additional insurance from Bitgo – the leader in institutional digital asset custody, trading, and finance.
Do you conduct “user research” to work on providing a better user experience?
User experience isn’t a big part of Hut 8 because our services aim to remove user experience from the process of gaining exposure to Bitcoin. We offer investors direct exposure, without the technical complexity or constraints of purchasing the underlying cryptocurrency, and a way to avoid the need to create online wallets, wire money offshore, and safely store their bitcoin.
About the CEO
Jaime Leverton is the CEO of Hut 8. She is a transformational leader with a proven track record for accelerating growth and has served as the driving force behind the operational re-imagining of some of Canada’s most influential technology companies. Throughout a career spanning more than 20 years, Jaime has served in a series of increasingly senior executive roles with eStruxture Data Centers, Cogeco Peer 1, National Bank, BlackBerry, Bell Canada, and IBM Canada.
Jaime has a Master’s of Business Administration, Marketing Informatics from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Political Science from the University of Ottawa. Jaime sits on the board of the Stratford Festival and the Merry-Go-Round Children’s Foundation. She is an avid runner, reader, and bitcoin advocate. Jaime lives in Toronto with her husband, their two daughters, and their dog, Dexter.
“Hut 8 has access to a world-leading proprietary mix of hardware, software, and operational expertise to construct, optimize and manage data centers in low-cost and attractive jurisdictions.”