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MARA: Transforming Energy Challenges into Opportunities

May 1, 2024

VP of Policy Jayson Browder & EMEA Managing Director Manoj Narender Madnani discuss Marathon Digital Holdings' energy solutions at #Token2049 in Dubai. Fireside chat courtesy of BitGo, CoinMENA, and Onramp.

Transcripts are autogenerated. May contain typos.


uh glad to be here actually the panel that we had uh was cancelled unfortunately uh because some people couldn't get from abui to Dubai uh so we're kind of The Replacements um but we appreciate your time I'm Jason Browder I'm the head of public policy for Marathon digital Holdings we're the largest publicly traded Bitcoin mining company in North America we're over a $5 billion market cap we are the uh I believe the second largest publicly traded uh company holder of Bitcoin uh around 177,000


Bitcoin on our balance sheets uh we have around a billion dollars um in cash and cash equivalents we also operate on three continents uh including the UAE uh Paraguay and uh North America we have 11 operations my role at Marathon is focused on uh Federal legislation so I work very closely with uh us politicians both in the house and the Senate and then uh supporting our uh growth efforts abroad we're one of the few largest publicly traded uh Bitcoin mining companies uh that are focused on International growth


uh particularly in the Gulf in G GCC uh and expansion efforts in Africa we were mostly focused on uh scale uh which was our as our CEO Fred teal likes to say our asset light model that allowed us to expand to be the largest Bitcoin mining company uh in North America uh and now we have matured and are moving into a uh asset heavy model uh with our recent acquis acquisitions in uh Texas and Nebraska and uh we really think of uh Bitcoin mining really in two separate parts if you if you understand Bitcoin mining a lot of the large


publicly traded companies are focused on what you would call utility scale mining so that is you know 100 1502 250 megawatt facilities uh that's uh part of our joint venture where you're really thinking of um Excess power and then grid stability uh and then as our CEO Co likes to say uh energy harvesting so how do you lower the cost of energy to either zero or negative by solving energy energy challenges and the Bitcoin that's produced is basically uh uh basically free so think of landfill m mining think of flared gas


uh think of um waste to gas projects uh that's everything from bourbon stillage running that stillage that's produced from anheiser Bush Budweiser Etc into anob digestors taking the methane that's produced and then mining Bitcoin where effectively the Bitcoin as I mentioned is is free uh and so um very excited to announce uh Mano uh who has just come on his announcement was on Monday as the uh new managing director for Amia who will be based in uh the Emirates focus on our growth portfolio uh overseas uh and I'll let


you introduce yourself and share more about uh our partnership here in the region thank you very much Jason so I just I wanted to give you a little bit of a a background as to why this is probably the right time for us to be focusing on Bitcoin mining or energy there's um a very interesting Focus that's happening Happ in on everyone's National development agenda in the entire region whereby it's not only GDP growth but it's the ability to provide Power and infrastructure and Marathon digital Holdings is


morphing itself into a a Energy Solutions company that is using Bitcoin mining as one of the processes to ensure grid stability to ensure that flaring or capturing stranded Renewable Power and effectively making sure that there is a net positive contribution to the economies that we are currently functioning in very unique time we have a we have a joint venture in Abu Dhabi with adq we're producing 250 megawatt of capacity and we're hoping to expand that so everyone sort of tries to understand as to why why would a Bitcoin


minor walk down a different path or extend its path and what is very interesting is that energy security is key to growth so what everyone needs to be focusing on any country any region that wants to accelerate its National development agenda needs to have a very clear focus on how do they improve their power power generation and at the same time be part of the growing infrastructure drive and you can see the amount of projects that are being launched in the region that there's a significant amount of requirements at the same time the


power generation grid capacity is not growing fast enough so we we are solution driven and I'm very excited to be part of the marathon team I come from a Energy background and spent the formative parts of my career and Upstream Midstream and downstream in the natural resource sector so yeah that was going to be my first question which is um you know the the industry is finally maturing um not only do we have large publicly traded uh companies that are listed on us exchanges um but we now have uh Bitcoin miners that are partnering with the


largest largest sovereign wealth funds uh in the world you have adq which is I think one of the fifth largest uh and I think it's you know you mentioned when your announcement went out and your uh colleagues from the traditional oil and gas whether it's Exxon and shell and these large uh you know hundred billion dollar market cap companies were like what the are you doing like why why are you coming to A Bitcoin mining company is it a bunch of DJ Bros um that talk about shitcoins and uh you know number go up and so I'd love


for you to dive into your traditional background and why you think Bitcoin mining is the future of energy thank you Jason so I have a simple view of the entire world which is we're currently running at a population about seven and a half to eight billion people you have six basic human needs energy food water infrastructure education and Healthcare I leave alcohol and sex to the side these are the six which I'm willing to put my money into and what's interesting is that energy is the number one cornerstone that allows each of the


other human needs to be addressed and what is interesting is that when we looked at we're currently consuming or prod producing 100 million barrels of oil a day we consume about 97 98 million barrels of oil a day 40% is consumed by the US India in its current capacity is only consuming 20% of that so if I look at it from a pure statistics point of view if the Indian population starts to consume oil in the same ratio that's being consumed by the American population or the North American population we're going to need about 150


mli million barrels a day in the next 15 to 20 years now with that comes a huge need for power a massive need for power and everyone's talking about lithium copper and just look at Copper Futures copper Futures have gone through the roof it's very much part of anyone's battery infrastructure power storage infrastructure and then at the same time it's all power and there's a significant amount of stranded Renewable Power in certain parts of the world any place that has a significant nuclear


power supply base and is and what is what is happening is everyone's growing their National agenda to attract industry everyone knows that the largest cost for industry is again power so when I sit here and sort of look at it the commodity that we are trading that everyone has their basic business understanding on is Bitcoin so blockchain is a key element to the entire ecosystem however if you take it a step further how do we how do you mine Bitcoin and making it effectively a byproduct of the energy solution and showing how you can


stabilize the actual grid and provide a lower cost of power as opposed to taking from the actual Grid at a at a peak time so it's a very fascinating time and everyone is looking at there's two things which are driving that growth AI data centers so it's a very unique time because the growth of AI and the growth of data centers data is the new oil everyone's going to have a have there's a significant amount of power need and what we have at Marathon is twofold apart from being one of the world's


largest Bitcoin miners we have a technology solution that effectively uses less power to cool our minds and that that technology is now being developed to be able to cool data center so think about it from a point of view of pro providing an endtoend solution which not many people have thought about it and as my colleague just said we're not crypto Bros we come from the I always joke and say I come from the I come from the no hairg gray hair world it's about gravitas we look at cash flows we look at not only our internal


rate of return but our external rate of return how we impact in the community how much power are we providing how are we actually loosening or softening the impact on the existing power grid and that's because we can manage it extremely well so there's a huge narrative I'm a huge energy fan and I'm actually very grateful to be here today so thank you so my next question would be like why do government's care right why would the UAE which is such a forward leaning uh government very focused on technology


very focused on Innovation they clearly want to be the leader not just in this region but in the world like why would the UAE say we want to do um obviously we're going to tell they did a joint venture with Marathon but why would they want to make a stamp on Bitcoin mining to help them solve their energy challenges why would Paraguay I don't know if anyone's been paying attention to the US Senate in Paraguay that's like maybe we should make Brazil pay as much money for their energy as we do Bitcoin


mining companies and maybe we should get more Bitcoin mining companies in Paraguay uh I don't know if you've seen But Mino and I are going to be taking a trip to Africa we're going to Tanzania we're going to Kenya we're having conversations at the highest levels of government in these countries tons of power generation I mean the IMF the World Bank uh USA has encouraged these countries to generate tons and tons of power they don't have enough population yet to soak up that power or the electrical grid why are


these countries inviting Bitcoin miners in to be partners for their energy solutions thank you Jason what is extremely clear is as I said earlier energy is the first basic human need that needs to be addressed and what we are seeing very clearly is if any country that's not able to address its energy Supply in a manner that provides the efficiency on a scale at at scale is not able to attract industry you're not able to attract AI you're not able to attract data centers I'm sure you've all


seen yesterday Microsoft announced a $1.5 billion investment into g42 why did they do that it's because there is significant power we are and I and I say this Marathon digital Holdings is part of the power solution because we we take very complex requirements simplify it but at the same time we customize a solution and everyone's solution is very different so governments are very keen power is the number one priority power and infrastructure are on everyone's National agenda and once they fix that


the positive effect it has on the grand economy at scale takes it to another level and I think just to to end um you know everyone's focused on the having uh what is that going to do to bitcoin miners uh what's it going to do to uh the revenues that we produce as I mentioned most miners have focused on the large utility scale mining that's not going away we're going to continue to partner with governments around the world to provide these Energy Solutions at scale 100 200 250 megawatt projects


whether that's Hydro nuclear natural gas I think what's very interesting in the Strate stry that we've taken uh which most people have not caught on yet which is these smaller scale projects 10 to 25 megawatt projects where companies pay us money because these are usually B2B relationships that we're doing so think of uh without the beha group for instance that we had a conversation with think about all the land fills in the world think about the the uh you know cop 28 was just here in the UAE they had a pledge 2030 they need


to reduce all this methane it's 70 to 80% worse than carbon di dioxide no real way to get rid of these this methane a lot of it is stranded meaning there's no infrastructure to take that methane to uh the energy source which is Bitcoin mining uh technology is modular we can put this right next to a landfill mine onsite capture that methane think of all the flared gas in the G uh GCC we can capture that gas capture that methane out of the air and mine Bitcoin with it uh our energy to waste projects I mention the stillage can you talk


about Marathon or heat reuse projects and how that's really the future of Bitcoin mining imagine all of these 5 to 10 megawatt Bitcoin mines all over the world completely decentralized where every Bitcoin we produce is basically free thank you Jason you've you've covered very clearly what's the use here and I I can tell you that the Ed Case is real there is um as we are shifting from a asset light to a asset heavy model there is a lot of there will be a lot of commercial roadkill from a few of the


miners over the next 30 to 60 days that we will we will be seeing post the Bitcoin having again it's a function of how we how we run our business the financial Prudence that we apply is very clear and at the same time what we're seeing is that Bitcoin mining is now part of the it's part of the positive energy narrative and our job at Marathon is to amplify that narrative and we're very grateful that the UAE allows us not only to partner with them but they're part of that narrative amplification so


without further Ado thank you very very much thank you everyone [Applause]