SegWit vs Bitcoin Cash transaction volume update & Bitcoin Cash investor flow update

Abstract: In March 2018, we wrote a piece on the SegWit capacity increase and compared it to Bitcoin Cash transaction volume. Another topic we have focused on is coins moved for the first time since the split, on both sides of the chain (our September 2017 report). In this piece we briefly provide an update on the metrics we were tracking. The data shows that SegWit is enjoying strong and consistent growth, while Bitcoin Cash volume is also slowly increasing from its lows, to around 9% of Bitcoin transaction volume. As at October 2018, very few pre-split coins are moving for the first time since the fork.

 

 

SegWit transaction volume – Percentage of Bitcoin transaction volume (Daily data)

(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain)

On the Bitcoin network, SegWit adoption has grown substantially since our first article on the topic in September 2017. Adoption now approaches 50% and the growth has been reasonably consistent and gradual throughout the period.

 

Daily transaction volume

(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin Cash blockchain)

As the above chart indicates, Bitcoin Cash transaction volume declined from the c10% of Bitcoin level in March 2018, when we last commented on the topic, to around 6%. Then in the late summer of 2018 Bitcoin Cash volume picked up again, to around the 10% level. The Bitcoin Cash numbers are somewhat skewed by the “stress tests” which occurred in August 2018 and then September 2018. However, the median daily Bitcoin Cash percentage transaction volume compared to Bitcoin in the last six months is 9.0%, a recovery compared to earlier lows of around 5% or 6%.

 

Cumulative transaction volume since the launch of Bitcoin Cash

(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin Cash blockchain)

Since the launch of Bitcoin Cash, 22.1 million SegWit transactions have taken place, only 17.0% more than the cumulative number of Bitcoin Cash transactions, which stands at 18.9 million. Although, as the chart above illustrates, this appears to be skewed somewhat by the stress tests.

Prior to the start of the stress tests, in July 2017, there had been 15.5 million SegWit transaction, 95.1% more than the number of Bitcoin Cash transactions.

 

Coins moved for the first time since the fork

(Source: Forks.network, Original chart idea from BitMEX Research)

As for our investor flow analysis system, 9.1 million Bitcoin which existed prior to the spit has moved at least once since the fork, compared to 8.6 million Bitcoin Cash. As the chart above indicates, the gradient of the spend for the first time since the fork lines are flattening out on both sides of the split, potentially indicating further significant changes in the investor flow dynamics are unlikely.

 

Tether – 波多黎各第二季度数据和贵族银行正寻找买家

摘要: 2018 年 2 月我们曾推测贵族银行(“ Noble Bank ”)可能是 Tether 的主要储备银行。彭博社近期报道,贵族银行可能正面临着财务危机。据说 Tether 正在接洽其他银行并打算分散其资金储备,这一假设得到波多黎各第二季度财务数据的支持。

 

波多黎各 2018 年第二季度财务数据

尽管 Tether 持续增长,包括贵族银行在内的国际金融实体( IFE )类别的银行存款余额(为29 亿美元)在本季度下降了 18.4% ,如下图所示。在我们看来,这些数据支持了 Tether 正在将其存款从贵族银行转移到波多黎各之外的其他银行的推断。 Tether 内部知情人士也告诉 BitMEX 研究团队, Tether 的存款已经分别存入多个其他银行。

 

波多黎各的 IFE 总存款与 Tether 余额之比(百万美元)。(资料来源: IFE 报表, BitMEX 研究, Coinmarketcap )

 

彭博也在评论波多黎各的财务数据,并表示:


波多黎各出现了与加密币相关的大量现金 。根据波多黎各银行监管机构的数据,截至 2017 年底,所谓的国际金融实体(如贵族银行)持有的现金和等价物从一年前的 1.91 亿美元飙升至 33 亿美元。截至今年 6 月 30 日,总数已下降至 26 亿美元。知情人士今年早些时候表示,岛上的大部分资金都是由贵族银行控制的。

(资料来源:彭博社

 

彭博社还报道称,纽约梅隆银行不再是贵族银行的托管银行。看来 Tether 依然在积极开发更多的储备银行。

 

欢迎转载,请注明文章来自

BitMEX (www.bitmex.com)

ICO 项目账户所持有的以太币

摘要:继 2017 年 9 月我们发布的第一篇关于 ICO 团队成员和顾问的文章,我们将在本报告中与 TokenAnalyst 一起追踪所有 ICO 项目的以太币余额。我们来看看每个项目以太币所筹集的金额和因以太币价格变化而产生的收益或损失的美元价值。我们得出的结论是,虽然最近以太币价值的下降,但在宏观层面,这些项目似乎已经出售了绝大部分部分所筹集的以太币(以美元计算)。在某些依然持有的以太币的项目上,即使按目前约 230 美元的价格计算,这些项目仍然存在未实现的收益,而不是未实现亏损。

222 个 ICO 项目所筹集的以太币 – 宏观分析

以太币 百万美元
EOS 筹集的以太币 7,211,776 3,824
其他项目筹集的以太币 7,972,003 1,639
所有项目筹集的以太币 15,183,779 5,463
EOS 出售的以太币 (7,211,776) (3,892)
其他项目汇出或出售的以太币 (4,113,345) (1,560)
所有项目汇出或出售的以太币 (11,325,121) (5,452)
以太币余额(截至 2018 年 9 月) 3,858,659 830

(资料来源:以太坊区块链, BitMEX 研究, TokenAnalystToken Data , Etherscan 的价格数据)

 

由以太币价格变化产生的整体收益和亏损 – 百万美元

已实现收益
EOS 项目收益 68
其他项目实现以太币总收益 692
其他项目实现以太币总损失 (34)
净实现收益 727
未实现收益
EOS 未实现收益 n/a
未实现以太币总收益 403
未实现以太币总损失 (311)
净未实现收益 93
净收益 819

(资料来源:以太坊区块链, BitMEX 研究, TokenAnalystToken Data , Etherscan 的价格数据)

 

备注:

  1. 该分析仅考虑了我们在以太坊区块链上跟踪的 ICO 项目的以太币余额。项目筹集以太币以外的加密币及项目自身发行的新加密币都不在考虑范围 。因此,我们报告中的总额会低于其他一些研究报告的总额。因此,虽然我们的数据可能偏低,但至少可以保证我们的计算方式是相对独立于项目之外的。与此同时,在项目的归集上也可能存在漏网之鱼包括 Tron ,由于我们尚未确定其账户地址。
  2. 项目所筹集的以太币是以该项目账户在任何时间点( EOS 除外)所持有的以太币的最高值来计算。这将导致一些不准确之处。
  3. 以太币兑美元的价格则是使用项目 ICO 期间内以太币兑美元的平均价格来计算。因此,该算法是相对粗略和不完全准确的。
  4. 实现收益的估算是通过每个月的月尾对每个项目的账户地址的以太币余额进行计算,然后查看以太币持有数量的减少。然后使用月均以太币价格来估算出售的以太币兑美元的价值。这可能不完全准确的,项目可能继续持有以太币或者不直接用以太币来兑换美元。
  5. 虽然我们认为我们在估算大致上是可靠的,但在个别项目层面,我们的数据可能不完全精准。对于任何错误或不恰当的假设,我们深表歉意。

 

关于以太币总持有量和销售量的评论

以太币价格从 2017 年 12 月左右的 1,400 美元高位下跌了近 85% 。正如我们当时提到的那样,以太币和其他相关加密币价值的关联性很强,并且存在显着的下行风险。以太币价值的大幅下跌导致一些人质疑由于 ICO 项目集中持有大量以太币,因此未来可能陷入“价格下跌漩涡”。该理论认为,许多 ICO 项目在账户里持有大量以太币,随着以太币的价格下降,这些项目将 “恐慌性抛售”,担心他们成为最后套现的以太币持有人。

Read more “ICO 项目账户所持有的以太币”

比特大陆首次公开募股(IPO)攻略(第二部分)

摘要:继 2018 年 8 月我们出版了关于比特大陆首次公开募股的文章后,我们将在本文继续根据比特大陆过去几天在 IPO 招股书中提供的新信息作出分析 。新的信息证实了我们最初的怀疑,比特大陆近期承受着大幅亏损, 2018 年第二季度净亏损达到 3.95 亿美元。过度生产所产生的成本也体现了出来,在过去的 18 个月里,失败的芯片生产成本达到 5 亿美元。然而,该文件还证实,比特大陆在 2018 年 8 月成功从投资者那里筹集了 4.42 亿美元,大大强化了他们的资产负债表。与此同时,这使得他们的 IPO 计划又向前迈了一大步。这对比特大陆来说是个好消息,他们的竞争对手应当留意了。

 

截至 2018 年 6 月的损益表

招股书披露了截至 2018 年 6 月的财务报表,与之前的财务报表相比,多了一个季度的资料。新的损益表证实了我们对比特大陆近期亏损的猜测(主要原因是销售价格下降)。如下表所示,该公司在 2018 年第二季度亏损 3.95 亿美元。首次公开发行招股书显示该公司在 2018 年上半年净利润为 7.42 亿美元,但是我们从网上 “泄露” 的 per-IPO 资料得知,在第一季度,比特大陆的净利润为 11.37 亿美元,因此我们得出比特大陆在第二季度出现亏损的结论。

百万美元 2015 2016 2017 2018 Q1 2018 Q2
销售收入 137.3 277.8 2,529.3 1.896.4 949.1
毛利润 71.5 158.1 1,447.1 1,137.3 (107.3)
净利润 48.6 118.9 1,249.4 1,137.7 (395.0)

(资料来源:比特大陆 IPO 招股书, BitMEX 研究)

 

但是,出现亏损的时间仅维持了一个季度,各方面的市场情况随时面临着进一步的变化。长期投资者不应该仅为了一个季度的亏损而特别担忧,尤其是在加密币采矿这种不稳定的行业里。由于矿机价格仍处于低位,第三季度也可能继续亏损,因此想重新盈利的确具有挑战性。我们认为,比特大陆可能需要提高价格矿机才能恢复盈利。


文件中,比特大陆承认了某些潜在战略失误可能是导致他们亏损主要原因。另一方面, 他们也提到了解决这些问题的方案:

由于 2017 年第四季度加密币价格表现出强劲的上涨趋势,在 2018 年初,我们认为加密币矿机的市场需求仍将持续增长。我们向生产合作伙伴下了大量订单以确保供应可以满足预期的需求。然而, 2018 年上半年加密币的市场价格出现了显着的市场波动及回调。由于这种波动,加密币开采的预期回报受压,我们的矿机销售放缓,导致存货量增加, 2018 年上半年客户的预付款相应减少。展望未来,我们将积极根据业务增长战略有效管理存货量和加密资产的规模,以确保业务增长和健康的现金流的可持续性,我们将调整采购和生产计划,以维持适当的流动性。

 

(资料来源:比特大陆 IPO 招股书, BitMEX 研究)

现金注资

资产负债表在 2018 年第二季度得到显着改善,主要是由于新投资者及新资金注入。第二季度净现金余额从 1.049 亿美元增加到 3.43 亿美元。新进的投资者基本在公司将出现现金危机时为公司打了一剂强心针。如下表所示,比特大陆在第三季度又筹集了更多资金,这将进一步改善公司现金状况。

 

比特大陆已发行股票

日期 筹集资金
2017 年 8 月 5,000 万美元
2018 年 6 月 2.927 亿美元
2018 年 8 月 4.42 亿美元
7.847 亿美元

(资料来源:比特大陆 IPO 招股书, BitMEX 研究)

 

库存量

第二季度库存余额降至 8.872 亿美元,而 2018 年第一季度的库存余额为 12.438 亿美元。该减少主要是由于资产减值。在 2018 年上半年,比特大陆的库存减值了 3.913 亿美元。因此,生产过剩所带来的亏损很大一部分可能已经反映在其财务报表上了。

 

付给台积电的预付款和采矿业前景

令人担忧的是,支付给台积电的预付款情况并未大幅改善而依然蚕食着大量的营运资金,其第二季度的余额为 6.592 亿美元,与第一季度的 6.66 亿美元相比略有下降。这可能与比特大陆最近宣布的新 7nm 矿机有关。公司作出公开声明对公司来说有正面影响,因为失败的芯片公司没有公布,而且证明这个产品可能最终会研发成功。这可以将比特大陆从困难的商业环境中解救出来。然而,怀疑它的人会提出以下指控:

  • 这个新的 7nm 项目可能是一个失败项目,公司宣布该项目,因为它们承受了太大的压力(我们认为这可能性比较低)
  • 转用 7nm 非常具有挑战性的,可能需要大约 12 到 18 个月这些硬件才能证明与市场上的 14nm 和 10nm 产品一样可靠
  • 生产 7nm 级别的产品太贵了,比特大陆的竞争对手,包括 Innosilicon , Ebang , Bitfury 通过在新产品中选择更便宜和更大的晶圆尺寸来超越比特大陆,这些产品也在过去几周内全部公布了。

 

失败芯片的减值

正如我们在上一篇文章中提到的那样,“比特大陆试图在 2018 年 3 月发布至少三种新的更高效的比特币采矿芯片,一种是 16nm ,一种是 12nm ,最近是 10nm 。而所发布的每一种都研发失败了,耗资数亿美元”。这些文件中的披露显示出我们的推断是准确的,现在可以进一步确定这些未开发成功的成本消耗规模。


台积电预付款和存货减值有关的准备

日期 金额
2017 年 2.404 亿美元
2018 年上半年 2.527 亿美元
4.931 亿美元

(资料来源:比特大陆 IPO 招股书, BitMEX 研究)


以上说明了生产新芯片的高风险和大额的潜在财务成本。比特大陆为一些失败的研发支付了高额的代价。

 

比特币现金和加密资产持有量

与我们之前的报告相比,招股书没有透露其他任何重要的新信息,个人持币量没有被披露。资产负债表上的加密币价值在第二季度降至 8.869 亿美元,而第一季度则为 11.724 亿美元。这很可能是由于比特币现金和其他加密币的价值下跌所致。比特大陆在第二季度披露了其加密货币持有量录得 1.027 亿美元的减值,该亏损可能在进入第三季度时会进一步加大。

 

结论

招股书使我们能够进一步量化当初怀疑比特大陆所犯的错造成的财务影响。

  • 比特大陆因研发采矿芯片失败(或其他库存减记)亏损了 5 亿美元
  • 该公司依赖新投资者的 7.847 亿美元来维持良好的现金状况
  • 由于库存过多且需要降低销售价格,比特大陆在最近一个季度录得近4亿美元亏损

虽然上述的许多这些错误都可以避免,但它们表现出比特大陆愿意冒险的态度。如果比特大陆没有承担这样的风险,那么公司在过去几年里不会能够为股东创造出 16.17亿美元价值,而比特大陆将不会是 2017 年规模最大且利润最高的加密币矿业公司。

我们现在知道比特大陆的 IPO 近在咫尺了,可能会在未来几个月内发生。这可能会为比特大陆提供充足的弹药来打未来的现金战。虽然比特大陆的竞争对手最近成功地开始发布一系列新的更高效的采矿产品,但比特大陆大量的现金储备将使得它们竞争对手担心。尽管比特大陆不是从自由现金流而是从投资者那里获得了这笔钱。

(首次公开发行的时间表和将出售的股份数量尚未在公开文件中披露)

 

 

 

欢迎转载,请注明文章来自

BitMEX (www.bitmex.com)

Tether – Q2 Puerto Rico data & Noble Bank looking for a buyer

Abstract: Bloomberg is reporting that Noble Bank, which back in February 2018 we speculated could be Tether’s primary reserve bank, may be facing financial difficulties. Tether is said to be diversifying away to other banks and this hypothesis is supported by Q2 financial data from Puerto Rico.

New Puerto Rico Financial Data for Q2 2018

Bank deposits in the International Financial Entities (IFE) category, which includes Noble Bank, were $2.9 billion, down 18.4% in the quarter. This is despite continuing growth of  Tether, which is illustrated in the below chart. In our view, this data supports the assertion that Tether is moving its reserves out of Noble and into other banks outside of Puerto Rico. BitMEX Research has also been informed by Tether insiders that the Tether funds have been diversified into other banks.

Puerto Rico’s IFE aggregate deposits versus the Tether balance in millions of USD. (Source: IFE Accounts, BitMEX Research, Coinmarketcap)

Bloomberg are also commenting on the financial data from Puerto Rico, stating:

Puerto Rico has seen a surge of cash related to cryptocurrencies. By the end of 2017, cash and equivalents held by so-called international financial entities, such as Noble, soared to $3.3 billion from $191 million a year earlier, according to data from Puerto Rico’s bank regulator. As of June 30 this year, the total had dropped to $2.6 billion. The majority of that money on the island was held by Noble, people familiar with the matter said earlier this year.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Bloomberg is also reporting that Bank of New York Mellon is no longer Noble’s custody bank.  Tether’s hunt for more reserve banks continues.

Ethereum holdings in the ICO treasury accounts

Abstract: Following on from our first piece on ICOs in September 2017, which focused on the team members and advisors, in this report we work with TokenAnalyst to track the Ethereum balances of the ICO projects over time. We look at the amount of Ethereum raised and the US$ value of the gains and losses caused by changes in the Ethereum price, for each project. We conclude that rather than suffering because of the recent fall in the value of Ethereum, at the macro level, the projects appear to have already sold almost as much Ethereum as they raised (in US$ terms). Of the Ethereum still held by the projects, even at the current c$230 price, projects are still sitting on unrealised gains, rather than losses.

 

Please click here to download the pdf version of this report

 

Ethereum raised by 222 ICOs – Macro analysis

ETH US$m
ETH raised by EOS 7,211,776 3,824
ETH raised by other projects 7,972,003 1,639
Total ETH raised 15,183,779 5,463
ETH sold by EOS (7,211,776) (3,892)
ETH transferred out/sold by other projects (4,113,345) (1,560)
Total ETH transferred out/sold (11,325,121) (5,452)
ETH Balance remaining (Sept 2018) 3,858,659 830

(Source: Ethereum Blockchain, BitMEX Research, TokenAnalyst, Token Data, Price data from Etherscan)

Overall profits & losses caused by changes in the price of Ethereum – US$ million

Realised gains
EOS project gains 68
Gross realised ETH gains by other projects 692
Gross realised ETH losses by other projects (34)
Net realised gains 727
Unrealised gains
EOS unrealised gains n/a
Gross unrealised ETH gains 403
Gross unrealised ETH losses (311)
Net unrealised gains 93
Total net gains 819

(Source: Ethereum Blockchain, BitMEX Research, TokenAnalyst, Token Data, Price data from Etherscan)

Notes:

  1. This analysis only considers the Ethereum balances of the ICO projects, which we have tracked on the Ethereum blockchain. Funds raised in currencies other than Ethereum are not considered nor is the balance of the new token created by the project. Our reported totals are therefore lower than some other sources. Therefore while our figures may be an underestimate, one at least has a degree of assurance that the balance is calculated independently of the project. At the same time we are missing several projects such as Tron, as we have not identified a treasury address or an address cluster.
  2. The estimate of the value of Ethereum raised is calculated by taking the highest value of Ethereum inside the address cluster of each project at any point in time (with the exception of EOS). This will result in some inaccuracies.
  3. The estimate of the value of US$ raised is calculated by using the average ETH price during the ICO period. This should therefore be considered as a rough and unreliable estimate.
  4. The estimate for the realised gains was calculated by taking the month end Ethereum balance for the address cluster of each project every month and then looking at the reduction in the Ethereum holdings. The average Ethereum price for each month was then used to estimate the US$ value of Ethereum that was sold. This is likely to be inaccurate and it is possible the project retains ownership of the Ethereum or that the Ethereum was not sold for US$.
  5. While we believe our estimates at the macro level may be reliable, at the individual project level our figures are likely to be unreliable. We apologise for any errors or inappropriate assumptions.

Commentary on the overall Ethereum holdings and sales

The Ethereum price has fallen almost 85% from the US$1,400 peak price in around December 2017. As we mentioned back then, the value of Ethereum and the associated crypto-currencies was high and there was significant downside risk. The large fall in the value of Ethereum led some to question if there could be a “downward price spiral” due to the concentrated Ethereum holdings of the ICO projects. The theory being that many ICO projects were sitting on a large treasure trove of Ethereum and that as the price of Ethereum fell, these projects were going to “panic sell’, fearful of being the last project holding their Ethereum bags. Read more “Ethereum holdings in the ICO treasury accounts”

Unboxing Bitmain’s IPO (Part 2)

Abstract: Following on from our August 2018 piece on Bitmain’s IPO, in this note we look at new information made available in Bitmain’s IPO prospectus, which was published in the last few days. The new filing confirms our suspicion that Bitmain has been making large losses recently, with a net loss of US$395m in Q2 2018. The magnitude of wasted production costs is also revealed, with almost US$0.5 billion spent on failed chips in the last 18 months. However, the document also confirms that Bitmain successfully raised US$442m from investors in August 2018, significantly strengthening their balance sheet. At the same time, this brings the IPO closer, which is good news for Bitmain and something its rivals should be concerned about.

The Income Statement to June 2018

The prospectus discloses financials up to June 2018, one extra quarter compared to what had previously been available. The new income statement confirms our suspicion (driven primarily by lower sales prices) that Bitmain has been making losses recently. As the below table shows, the company lost US$395m in Q2 2018. The IPO prospectus document shows the company making a net profit of US$742m in the first half of 2018, however since we know from the “leaked” pre-IPO presentations that Bitmain made a $1,137m net profit in Q1, we can tell that Q2 was a loss making period.

2015 2016 2017 2018 Q1 2018 Q2
Sales 137.3 277.8 2,529.3 1.896.4 949.1
Gross Profit 71.5 158.1 1,447.1 1,137.3 (107.3)
Net Profit 48.6 118.9 1,249.4 1,137.7 (395.0)

(Source: Bitmain IPO prospectus, BitMEX Research)

However, the losses only relate to a period of one quarter and business conditions may change. One quarter of losses should not be a significant concern to long term investors, especially in a volatile business like crypto-currency mining. Although mining machine prices remain low and Q3 is also likely to be a loss making period, therefore moving back into the black may be challenging. Bitmain may need to raise prices to return to profitability, in our view.

In the document, Bitmain do acknowledge some potential strategic mistakes which may have contributed to the losses, and how they plan to address these issues going forwards:

In early 2018, we anticipated strong market growth for cryptocurrency mining hardware in 2018 due to the upward trend of cryptocurrencies price since the fourth quarter of 2017, and we placed a large amount of orders with our production partners in response to the anticipated significant sales growth. However, there had been significant market volatility in the market price of cryptocurrencies in the first half of 2018. As a result of such volatility, the expected economic return from cryptocurrency mining had been adversely affected and the sales of our mining hardware slowed down, which in turn caused an increase in our inventories level and a decrease in advances received from our customers in the first half of 2018. Going forward, We will actively balance our business growth strategy, inventories and cryptocurrencies assets levels to ensure a sustainable business growth and a healthy cash flow position, and we will adjust our procurement and production plan to maintain an appropriate liquidity level.

(Source: Bitmain IPO prospectus, BitMEX Research)

Cash injections

The balance sheet position improved significantly in Q2 2018, mainly due to new cash injections from new investors. The net cash balance improved from US$104.9m to US$343m in Q2. Investors essentially rescued the company as it neared a cash crisis. As the table below shows, Bitmain raised even more money in Q3, which is likely to improve the cash position even further going forward.

Bitmain issuances of shares

Date Amount raised
August 2017 US$50.0m
June 2018 US$292.7m
August 2018 US$442.0m
Total US$784.7m

(Source: Bitmain IPO prospectus, BitMEX Research)

Inventory

The inventory balance fell to $887.2m in Q2, compared to the $1,243.8m in Q1 2018. This reduction is likely to be primarily driven by impairments. In H1 2018 Bitmain suffered an inventory write-down of US$391.3m. Therefore a significant proportion of the pain related to the overproduction could have already occurred.

Pre-payment to TSMC & the current mining industry outlook

Worryingly the TSMC pre-payment situation has not materially improved as a drain on working capital, with the balance as at Q2 being US$652.9m, only down slightly from US$666.0m in Q1. This could relate to Bitmain’s new 7nm mining product, which was recently announced. The fact that this was officially announced by the company is a positive, since the failed chips were not announced and therefore this product could finally be successful. This could rescue Bitmain from a difficult business enviroment. However, skeptics would point to the following:

  • This new 7nm project could also be a failure, the company is only announcing it as they are under more pressure (in our view this is unlikely)
  • Moving to 7nm is very challenging and it could take around 12 to 18 months until these devices are as reliable as the 14nm and 10nm products on the market
  • Producing at the 7nm level is too expensive and Bitmain’s rivals, Innosilicon, Ebang, Bitfury have out-smarted Bitmain by selecting the cheaper and larger wafer size in their new products, which have also all been announced in the last few weeks.

Impairments related to failed chips

As we mentioned in our previous piece, “Bitmain has tried to release at least three new more efficient Bitcoin mining chips, one at 16nm, one at 12nm and more recently 10nm in March 2018. Each of these releases failed, costing Bitmain hundreds of millions of dollars”. The disclosure in these documents may reveal that our assessment may have been accurate and the scale of the cost of these failures can now be determined.

Provisions for impairments related to TSMC prepayments & inventory write-downs

Period Value
2017 US$240.4m
2018 H1 US$252.7m
Total US$493.1m

(Source: Bitmain IPO prospectus, BitMEX Research)

The above illustrates just how risky and potentially financially costly it is to produce new chips. Bitmain have paid a high price for some of the failures.

Bitcoin Cash & the crypto-currency holdings

The prospectus does not reveal any significant new information compared to our previous report, individual holdings by coin were not disclosed. The value of crypto-currency on the balance sheet fell to US$886.9m in Q2, compared to US$1,172.4m in Q1. This is likely to be driven by a fall in value in Bitcoin Cash and the other coins. Bitmain disclosed an impairment of its crypto-currency holdings of US$102.7m in Q2, which is likely to have accelerated further into Q3.

Conclusion

The prospectus enables us to quantify the financial impact of mistakes we already suspected that Bitmain had made.

  • Bitmain lost US$0.5 billion on production costs associated with mining chips that failed (or other inventory write-downs)
  • The company was dependent on US$784.7m on new investment to retain a positive cash position
  • Bitmain incurred a net loss of almost US$400m in the most recent quarter, due to having too much inventory and needing to lower sales prices

Obviously many of these mistakes could have been avoided, but all they really show is that Bitmain take risks. If Bitmain didn’t take such risks the company would not have built $1,617m of shareholder equity in the last few years and Bitmain would not have been the largest and most profitable mining company in 2017.

We now know the IPO is close and could occur within a few months. This could provide Bitmain a substantial cash war chest. Although Bitmain’s rivals have very recently successfully began releasing a wave of new more efficient mining products, Bitmain’s new large cash reserves is something they should worry about. Even though Bitmain obtained this money from investors, rather than generating it from free cash flow.

(The timeline of the IPO or number of shares which will be sold has not been disclosed in the filling)

 

比特大陆首次公开募股(IPO)攻略

摘要:在这篇文章中,我们就比特大陆的财务数据进行分析,由于打算 IPO ,这些数据被提供(或泄露)给了市场。这些数据表明,比特大陆在 2017 年实现了高利润和现金流,但可能目前公司正在亏损。比特大陆还将其大部分运营现金流用于购买比特币现金,因此按市值计价目前损失约 3.28 亿美元。我们的结论是,IPO本身可能会顺利进行,但是未来公司如何使用从投资者哪儿所获取的资金将是关键,管理层可能需要加强在这一方面的管理规划。

 

IPO 进程

比特大陆预计将于 2018 年 8 月底向香港证券交易所提交 IPO 申请,预计将于 2018 年底上市。该公司刚刚根据 140 亿美元的估值进行了一轮上市前的融资,并筹集了数亿美元。因此,我们认为公司上市时估值将超过 200 亿美元,并筹集数十亿美元的资金。

关于上述融资情况的文件(也包含比特大陆财务数据)已在推特上流传。我们有理由相信这些文件的真实性,这些文件的内容将作为本报告的基础依据。

 

比特大陆在采矿行业的地位

领域 公司 比特大陆的地位
芯片制造/晶圆代工 台积电, 三星, 格罗方德, 中芯国际 比特大陆没有涉及该领域
ASIC 设计,矿机组装和销售 比特大陆, 迦南, 翼比特, 芯动科技, Bitfury 比特大陆是这个领域的龙头企业,同时这也是比特大陆的核心业务。在 2017 年,比特大陆声称其在该领域加密币市场占有率达到 85% ,比特币市场占有率达到 77% 。
矿池运营 BTC.com , AntPool (蚂蚁矿池), BTC.TOP , Slush ,  ViaBTC & F2Pool 比特大陆在该市场占有主导地位。 比特大陆拥有 BTC.com 和蚂蚁矿池两个最大的矿池。比特大陆同时也是 ViaBTC 投资者。在过去 6 个月,上述 3 个矿池加起来的市场占有率约为48% 。
自营挖矿业务 Hive Blockchain, Genesis mining, 比特大陆 在 2016 年,比特大陆占有领导地位,然而,上市前的文件显示比特大陆在该领域有倒退的迹象。在 2016 年,公司挖矿产生的收益占公司总收益 18.4% ,到了 2018 年一季度,该比例降至 3.3% 。  

(资料来源:比特大陆上市前文件,BitMEX 研究)

 

IPO 有认购需求吗?

根据上表,比特大陆在加密币挖矿相关的大部分领域都占有主导地位。比特大陆很可能是区块链领域里规模最大、利润最高的公司,这使公司对许多投资者来说非常具有吸引力。

在过去的几年甚至几十年里,投资人在分析科技行业时都学到了一点,无论对错,一定要投资该行业的龙头企业。排名第一的公司通常受益于网络/规模效应而独大,因此其他规模较小的竞争对手往往会较易失败。下面名单说明了该现象:

领域 公司
通信软件 Whatsapp, Line (日本), 微信(中国)
搜索 谷歌
出行软件 优步
电商 亚马逊(美国),阿里巴巴(中国)
音乐平台 Spotify
视频网站 Youtube

不管有没有道理,现在很多人都认为区块链是下一个基于互联网的最重要的技术之一,比特大陆是这个领域的龙头企业。这种网络效应逻辑是否能够应用在 ASIC 设计和配送公司尚不清楚,而一味的将企业做大所带来的好处也可对传统的产业更有利。我们认为,不仅要从技术的角度来看待加密币挖掘,而且要从能源密集型产业(如自然资源开采)的角度来看待它。这些行业与互联网的产业相比,所能带来的规模效益更为有限。因此,我们不认为就因为它是目前最规模最大的加密币挖掘公司,就应该盲目的投资,明显某些投资人天真地这么认为。

 

比特大陆自身经营的采矿业务收益下跌

正如我们上面提到的,比特大陆 IPO 前的文件中最有意思的发现之一是比特大陆自己经营的采矿业务急剧下降。虽然其占总收入的比重大幅下降,但按绝对值计算, 2017 年,自营的采矿收入仍增长了 250% ,只是它被具有 948% 增长的矿机销售盖过了。

比特大陆 – 自营采矿业务收入的比重

(资料来源:比特大陆上市前文件,BitMEX 研究)

我们认为,这种下降表现出了比特大陆从竞争日益激烈、利润率越来越低的领域撤出(相对而言)的明智战略决策。我们认为,采矿业产业链越下游的竞争更剧烈,其变化也更快,比特大陆因此采取了明智的战略布局,将集中精力在产业链上游,同时上游也是整个产业链价值越来越大的地方。在某些方面,这对于比特币去中心化来说是个好消息,因为一个占主导地位的矿工已经退出。我们认为,在网络系统安全的重要性来说, ASIC 的设计和销售不及挖矿本身来的重要,在理论上矿工可以选择构建区块的矿池,并选择在哪个区块上构建新的区块。当然,比特大陆在 ASIC 领域中的主导权力和支配地位仍然是比特币系统的一个重大问题。

 

目前比特大陆很可能出现了亏损

在文件中,比特大陆披露了采矿相关的主要产品销售数量、销售额、和至关重要的毛利率。我们已经在下面的表格中显示了相关的数据。数据显示,比特大陆在 2017 销量超过 100 万台 S9 ,然后在 2018 一季度累积销售了 70 万台。

 

矿机及相关产品财务指标

2016 2017 Q1 2018 BitMEX 预测 (现价)
销售收入按产品分布 – 百万美元 
S9 (Bitcoin) 98.1 1,347.4 1,225.9
S7 (Litecoin) 106.3
L3 (Litecoin) 0.9 421.6 344.0
D3 (Dash) 411.6
T9 (Bitcoin) 34.9 84.2
A3 (Siacoin) 76.8
V9 (Bitcoin)
其他 3.3 9.3 9.1
APM Power 13.6 104.8 78.7
222.2 2,329.0 1,829.7
价格 – 美元
S9 1,429.0 1,257.0 1,719.0 499.0
S7 593.0 212.0
L3 1,315.0 1,685.0 1,404.0 209.0
D3 1,581.0 179.0 176.0
T9 1,031.0 991.0
A3 1,431.0
V9 145.0
APM Power 108.0 110.0 95.0
毛利润率
S9 58.8% 55.7% 69.9% (11.6%)
S7 58.6%
L3 21.2% 71.0% 44.6% (133.8%)
D3 76.2% (108.8%) (113.8%)
T9 19.9% 49.7%
A3 78.3%
V9 (34.5%)
57.9% 58.9% 61.9% 损失
总销售(数量)
S9 68,672 1,071,901 713,158
S7 179,315
L3 676 250,181 245,007
D3 260,313
T9 33,885 84,932
A3 53,703
APM Power 125,513 952,785 828,194
374,176 2,569,065 1,924,993

(资料来源:比特大陆上市前文件,BitMEX 研究,比特大陆官网)

使用所披露的 2017 年毛利率,我们计算了出每台机器的隐含成本。假设成本维持不变(这可能不太现实),我们能够根据比特大陆网上的最新价格进一步计算出毛利率。分析表明,比特大陆目前处于亏损状态,主要 S9 产品的利润率为负 11.6% ,L3产品的利润率超过负 100% 。在现实情况中,成本很可能已经下降,所以情况未必会那么糟,但我们认为,比特大陆很可能正在承受着重大的损失。

低价位的产品很可能是比特大陆精心策划的,通过价格战打击他们的竞争对手的销售额,造成他们经济困难,从而将他们挤出市场。在我们看来,这是驱使比特大陆 IPO 的主要原因之一。成功的首次公开募股( IPO )可以为比特大陆带来实施这一战略需要的火力,并消除竞争对手先进行 IPO 所带来的优势。

另一个低价位和亏损销售的原因可能是比特大陆在资产负债表上库存太多。截至 2018 年 3 月,比特大陆在账面上有 12 亿美元的库存,相当于 2017 年销售额的 52% 。因此,比特大陆可能需要重新评估库存价值,这可能会产生比亏本销售更大的损失。

 

经营现金流量和资产负债表

这些文件包含汇总资产负债表数据。比特大陆的优势是它完全没有债务,公司在 2017 年的现金流很强劲。其劣势包括:

  1. 2017 年支付给台积电预付款总额接近 8.66 亿美元,这削弱了比特大陆的营运资金状况;
  2. 巨大的库存量,约 12 亿美元(超过最高年销售额的 50% ),这说明生产过剩;
  3. 持有大量的竞争币投资组合,其成本约为 12 亿美元,这说明了比特大陆的现金流的主要流向。
资产负债表 – 百万美元 2016 2017 Q1 2018 BitMEX 预测 (目前价值)
加密币
比特币现金 673.5 887.5      558.7
比特币 69.1 216.1 148.2      153.1
莱特币 2.2 49.0 51.2         56.1
达世币 103.0 103.4         55.0
以太币 0.6 0.8           0.3
其他调整 (40.0) (336.7) (18.7)            –  
总加密币资产     31.3      705.5     1,172.4      823.2
固定资产    54.0 355.7 175.7
其他   2.4  2.7   3.0
台积电预付款     42.7      866.0 666.0
应收账款              7.7   66.4 167.4
库存     61.9   1,034.1     1,243.8
现金 18.2 60.6 104.9
总资产 218.2   3,091.0     3,533.2
负债      81.3   1,638.3 896.1
净资产 136.9   1,452.7     2,637.1

(资料来源:比特大陆上市前文件,BitMEX 研究,价格来源自 Bitfinex )

(备注:上述预测是根据 2018 年 8 月 28 日的加密币价格, 2018 年 3 月 31 日的加密币持有量)

 

该公司的关键资产之一是其加密币组合,截至 2018 年 3 月,其价值(按成本计算)接近 12 亿美元。截至 2018 年 3 月,其中包括了超过 100 万个比特币现金。自比特大陆投资以来,该竞争币投资组合的市场价值已经下跌,几乎所有的损失都来自比特币现金,如下图所示。

 

比特大陆的加密币投资 — 价值变化与成本价格 — 百万美元

(资料来源:比特大陆上市前文件,BitMEX 研究,价格来源自 Bitfinex )

(备注: 2018 年 8 月 28 日的价格, 2018 年 3 月 31 日的加密币持有量。图表假设加密币持有量不变)

 

下图表示出了公司投资在比特币现金的量是非常大的。比特大陆在 2017 年用了其运营现金流的 69% 来购买比特币现金 。尽管这可能有所夸大,因为某些比特币现金可能是透过比特币硬分叉而得到的。从数据我们可以推测出 1,021,316 个比特币现金中,大概有 71,560 个是这样获取的。

 

比特大陆 2017 年现金流出 – 百万美元

(资料来源:比特大陆上市前文件,BitMEX 研究)

 

具体情况甚至比上面所指出的还要糟糕。比特大陆不仅将 2017 年的大部分现金流投入于比特币现金,还将其整个经营历史所产生的大部分现金流都投入于比特币现金。文件显示,比特大陆在 2016 年没有产生现金流,而在 2018 年第一季度只有 2,500 万美元(可能是由于支付了台积电的大额预付款)。

 

比特大陆经营现金流 – 百万美元

(资料来源:比特大陆上市前文件,BitMEX 研究)

 

从某种意义上说,这一切都无关紧要。比特大陆愿意把自己的资金花在风险资产上,他们知道自己承受什么样的风险。但对于一家上市公司来说,情况便不同了,股东会希望该公司投资于核心业务或将多余的资金返还给投资者。当然,可能我们对香港规管的期望可能过高了。

 

为什么比特大陆要 IPO?

我们认为,进行 IPO 的主要原因很简单,首先比特大陆的竞争对手也在计划进行 IPO ,行业竞争激烈,正如比特大陆的亏损定价所表明。其竞争对手迦南正在筹划 IPO ,比特大陆不太可能让他们获得资金优势。比特大陆的首次公开募股( IPO )应该会把市场上原先准备投资于迦南或其他矿机公司的资金抽走一部分,因此 IPO 是持续打价格战的一个的合理战术。

IPO 的另一个原因可能是,在已经将大部分营运现金流投入比特币现金的情况下, IPO 所获得的资金可以用来加强资产负债表。截至 2018 年 3 月,比特大陆的资产负债表上只有大约 1.05 亿美元的现金,如果该公司没有购入这么多比特币现金,这个数字可能接近 10 亿美元。与此同时,该业务确实需要大量现金,例如所需支付台积电的预付现金,在 2017 年最高达到 8.66 亿美元。

 

关于比特大陆技术优势的争论

没有人能够撼动比特大陆的市场地位及规模 比特大陆正在失去它的领导地位,它的矿机性能在过去两年没有显著的提升
  • 的确,与比特大陆的矿机相比,其竞争对手近期退出了更高效的矿机,但这不意味着一切。数据显示,在过去的 27 个月内,比特大陆交付了 190 万台 S9 ,总矿机交付数量达到 300 万台。没有任何一个竞争对手能达到如此规模。其竞争对手一年最多只能提供数十万台矿机。
  • 同时,虽然竞争对手的矿机可能更高效,但比特大陆的 S9 矿机可靠,且哈希相对稳定。
  • 例如,根据官方数据, Dragonmint T1 相对高效。但哈希的波动比预期高出许多,这对利润率低的矿工来说是无法接受的,由于预算有限,他们需要稳定及表现相对可预期的矿机。 S9 是市面上唯一可靠的产品。
  • 比特大陆是行业的领导者,它也在带头降价,导致其他 ASIC 设计公司面临着巨大的财务压力。比特大陆已经吸引了许多世界各地包括硅谷在内的风险投资人,并在计划着 IPO ,这将巩固比特大陆的行业竞争力。
  • 2015 年 12 月,比特大陆退出了 S9 矿机,一款 16nm 的产品,其效能达到 110W/TH。其后,比特大陆未曾改良或推出过效能更佳的产品。这可是两年前了。
  • 自 2017 年初以来,比特大陆耗资上亿美元试图推出至少三款比特币矿机芯片,16 nm , 12nm ,及近期的 10nm 芯片,但都没有成功。
  • 失败的下线( IC 设计的最后一道工序)使竞争者有足够的时间来生产及推出效能更佳的矿机,其中 Innosilicon T2 和 ShenMA M10 都比 S9 更高效,它们的能耗分别为 80W/TH 和 65W/TH 。
  • 比特大陆也流失了部分技术人才,例如,前设计总监杨作兴博士离职并创立了一家与比特大陆竞争的矿机公司,比特大陆正就侵权问题提出诉讼
  • 在失去了创新及生产更高效矿机能力的情况下,比特大陆只能透过降价来维持它的销售收入,直到它最终失去领导地位。
  • 就因为情况不乐观,这也是为什么市场上会有传言说比特大陆试图误导投资者它已经拿到新加坡的政府投资,尽管我们没有任何有效证据证明该指控属实。

围绕比特大陆技术能力的叙述有好有坏,而真相可能永远位于中间。然而,有一点是很清楚的,如果这些矿机公司真的上市,该产业对市场来说会更加透明及清晰,我们认为这对于加密币整体来说是一个重大的利好。

 

结论

在某种程度上,比特大陆的一些重大失误,比如在牛市中生产太多的矿机和购买太多的投机性加密货,与传统矿业公司管理团队的行为有些相似。例如,黄金矿业公司经常在牛市中投资高成本资产,而后在熊市中不投资高质量的低成本资产。也许不能只责怪这些公司,对冲基金和持有这些公司的股票的机构投资者,也需要承担一部分责任。贪婪、恐惧这些市场情绪都影响着我们的决策。因此,尽管比特大陆犯了错,但在很多方面来说,这些失误并不罕见也不出乎我们的意料。

我们相信您肯定听过 “加密币会生存下去” 这句话。在那种环境下,我们认为比特大陆有成为该领域中最伟大的公司的潜力。比特大陆可以成为加密币领域的传奇,在未来几十年中为股东带来丰厚的回报,但是为了实现这个目标(而且比说起来困难多了),比特大陆的管理团队可能需要改进对公司资源的管理。一旦公司上市,想在动荡和不可预测的市场中进行资本配置的决策将变得非常困难,受情绪影响的投资决策将是不会被市场容忍的。

 

 

欢迎转载,请注明文章来自

BitMEX (www.bitmex.com)

Unboxing Bitmain’s IPO

Abstract: In this piece we review and analyse Bitmain’s financial data, which was made available (or leaked) as part of the pre-IPO process. The figures indicate Bitmain was highly profitable and cash generative in 2017, but may currently be loss making. Bitmain also spent the majority of its operating cash flow acquiring Bitcoin Cash and may have suffered mark to market losses of US$328 million as a result. We conclude that the IPO itself may go well, however going forwards the allocation of investor capital will be key and management may need to improve in this area.

 

Please click here to download the pdf version of this report

 

The IPO process

Bitmain expects to submit IPO documents to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the end of August 2018, with a public listing expected towards the end of 2018. The company has just conducted a pre-IPO round, raising several hundred million dollars at a valuation of around $14 billion. Therefore we believe the company is likely to attempt to raise several billion dollars at the IPO stage, with a valuation north of $20 billion.

Documents outlining this process, which also contain Bitmain financial data, have been leaked on Twitter. We have reason to believe the authenticity of these documents, which forms the basis for this report.

Bitmain’s position in the mining industry

Area Companies Bitmain’s position
Chip manufacturing/foundry TSMC, Samsung, Global Foundries, SMIC Bitmain has no presence or prospects in this area
ASIC design, mining machine assembly and distribution Bitmain, Canaan Creative, Ebang, Innosilicon, Bitfury Bitmain is the dominant player in this area and this is the company’s core business. In 2017 Bitmain claims to have had a cryptocurrency market share of 85% and a Bitcoin share of 77%
Mining pool operator BTC.com, AntPool, BTC.TOP, Slush, ViaBTC & F2Pool Bitmain has a dominant position in this space. BTC.com & Antpool are the two largest pools, which are both owned by Bitmain. Bitmain is also an investor in ViaBTC. In the last six months these three pools had a combined global market share of around 48%
Mining farm operator Hive Blockchain, Genesis mining, Bitmain In 2016 Bitmain is likely to have been a dominant player, however the pre-IPO documents show Bitmain has significantly scaled back in this area.  Revenue from own mining operations has fallen from 18.4% of total revenue in 2016 to just 3.3% in Q1 2018.

(Source: Bitmain pre-IPO documents, BitMEX Research)

Will there be demand for the IPO?

Bitmain has a strong or dominant position in most areas in cryptocurrency mining, as the table above illustrates. Bitmain is likely to be the largest and most profitable company in the blockchain space, which is likely to make the company attractive to many investors.

In the last few years and decades the key lesson many technology investors have learnt, rightly or wrongly, is to always invest in the number one company. The number one company typically benefits the most from network effects and as a result smaller rivals tend to fail. The below list of usual suspects illustrate this basic point:

Sector Company
Messaging app Whatsapp, Line (Japan), WeChat (China)
Search Google
Ride sharing Uber
eCommerce Amazon (US), Alibaba (China)
Music streaming Spotify
Online Video streaming Youtube

Justified or not, the blockchain space is now regarded by many as one of the next big internet based technologies and Bitmain is the number one player in this space. Whether this network effect type logic can apply to ASIC design and distribution is not clear to us and the benefits of being big may be limited to the more traditional economies of scale. We think it is important to not only look at cryptocurrency mining through the technology lens, but also to look at it from the angle of an energy intensive industry, like mining for natural resources. In these sectors the benefits of scale are more limited than for internet based networks. Therefore we don’t completely agree that one should blindly invest in the largest cryptocurrency mining entity, we just think than some investors, perhaps naively, may think this way.  

Bitmain’s own mining operation declines

As we alluded to above, one of the most interesting discoveries in the Bitmain pre-IPO documents was the sharp decline in Bitmain’s own mining farm business. Although the share of revenue has dramatically fallen, in absolute terms own mining revenue still grew by 250% in 2017, its just that the 948% growth in equipment sales overshadowed this.

Bitmain – share of revenue from own mining operations

(Source: Bitmain pre-IPO documents, BitMEX Research)

We believe this decline represents a smart strategic decision by Bitmain to divest (relatively speaking), from an increasingly competitive and lower margin area. In our view, as one moves down the mining supply chain, the competition is likely to increase faster and Bitmain made a sensible move by trying to focus their efforts up the chain, where an increasingly large proportion of the value from mining may accrue. In some ways this is good news for Bitcoin decentralisation, as a dominant mining player has stepped back. We believe ASIC design and distribution is less critical to network security than mining farm operation, which in theory choose the pools who construct blocks and select which blocks to build on top of. Of course Bitmain’s power and dominance in the ASIC space still remains as a significant problem for Bitcoin.

Currently Bitmain are likely to be making losses 

In the documents, Bitmain disclosed the revenue, sales and crucially gross profit margin for each of the main mining products. We have displayed the relevant data in the table below. The data shows that Bitmain sold over a million S9’s in 2017 and then over 0.7 million in Q1 2018 alone.

Financial metrics by mining product

2016 2017 Q1 2018 BitMEX  projection (Current prices)
Revenue by product – $m 
S9 (Bitcoin) 98.1 1,347.4 1,225.9
S7 (Litecoin) 106.3
L3 (Litecoin) 0.9 421.6 344.0
D3 (Dash) 411.6
T9 (Bitcoin) 34.9 84.2
A3 (Siacoin) 76.8
V9 (Bitcoin)
Other 3.3 9.3 9.1
APM Power 13.6 104.8 78.7
Total 222.2 2,329.0 1,829.7
Price – $
S9 1,429.0 1,257.0 1,719.0 499.0
S7 593.0 212.0
L3 1,315.0 1,685.0 1,404.0 209.0
D3 1,581.0 179.0 176.0
T9 1,031.0 991.0
A3 1,431.0
V9 145.0
APM Power 108.0 110.0 95.0
Gross profit margin
S9 58.8% 55.7% 69.9% (11.6%)
S7 58.6%
L3 21.2% 71.0% 44.6% (133.8%)
D3 76.2% (108.8%) (113.8%)
T9 19.9% 49.7%
A3 78.3%
V9 (34.5%)
Total 57.9% 58.9% 61.9% Loss
Volume (units)
S9 68,672 1,071,901 713,158
S7 179,315
L3 676 250,181 245,007
D3 260,313
T9 33,885 84,932
A3 53,703
APM Power 125,513 952,785 828,194
Total 374,176 2,569,065 1,924,993

(Source: Bitmain pre-IPO documents, BitMEX Research, Bitmain website)

Using the disclosed gross profit margin from 2017, we calculated the implied cost price of each machine. Assuming these costs remain unchanged (which may be unrealistic), we were able to calculate gross profit margins based on the latest prices on the Bitmain store. This analysis implies Bitmain are currently loss-making, with a negative profit margin of 11.6% for the main S9 product and a margin of over negative 100% on the L3 product. In reality costs are likely to have declined so the situation may not be as bad, however we think it is likely Bitmain are currently making significant losses.

These low prices are likely to be a deliberate strategy by Bitmain, to squeeze out their competition by causing them to experience lower sales and therefore financial difficulties. In our view, herein lies the key to one of the main driving forces behind the decision to IPO. A successful IPO may increase the firepower available to continue this strategy and eliminate an advantage rivals could have by doing their IPOs first.  

Another reason for these low prices and apparent losses may be that Bitmain has too much inventory on the balance sheet. As at March 2018 Bitmain had $1.2 billion of inventory on the books, equal to 52% of 2017 sales. Bitmain may therefore have had to suffer inventory write downs, which could have generated further losses in addition to the loss making sales.

Use of operating cash flow and balance sheet

The documents contain summary balance sheet data. On the positive side is that Bitmain has no debt and the company was highly cash generative in 2017. The negatives include:

  1. Large prepayments to TSMC, totalling almost $866m in 2017, which weaken Bitmain’s working capital situation;
  2. A large inventory balance, of around $1.2bn (over 50% of peak annual sales) illustrating overproduction;
  3. A large portfolio of altcoins, with a cost base of $1.2 billion which represents the primary use of Bitmain’s cash flow.
Balance sheet – US$ million 2016 2017 Q1 2018 BitMEX projection (Current value)
Cryptocurrency
Bitcoin Cash 673.5 887.5      558.7
Bitcoin 69.1 216.1 148.2      153.1
Litecoin 2.2 49.0 51.2         56.1
Dash 103.0 103.4         55.0
Ethereum 0.6 0.8           0.3
Other adjustment (40.0) (336.7) (18.7)            –  
Total coin assets     31.3      705.5     1,172.4      823.2
Fixed assets    54.0 355.7 175.7
Other   2.4  2.7   3.0
TSMC prepayment     42.7      866.0 666.0
Receivables              7.7   66.4 167.4
Inventory     61.9   1,034.1     1,243.8
Cash 18.2 60.6 104.9
Total assets 218.2   3,091.0     3,533.2
Liabilities      81.3   1,638.3 896.1
Net assets 136.9   1,452.7     2,637.1

(Source: Bitmain pre-IPO documents, BitMEX Research, Prices from Bitfinex)

(Notes: Projections based on prices as at 28 August 2018, coin holdings as at 31 March 2018)

One of the key assets of the company is its portfolio of cryptocurrencies, valued (on a cost basis) at almost $1.2bn as at March 2018. As at March 2018 this consisted of over 1 million Bitcoin Cash. The market value of the altcoin portfolio has fallen in value since Bitmain invested, with almost all the losses attributable to Bitcoin Cash, as the chart below shows.

Bitmains investment in cryptocurrency – change in value vs cost price – $ million

(Source: Bitmain pre-IPO documents, BitMEX Research, Prices from Bitfinex)

(Notes: Prices as at 28 August 2018, coin holdings as at 31 March 2018. Chart assumes coin holding do not change)

As the following chart below illustrates, the Bitcoin Cash investment itself is very significant, to the extent that the company spent around 69% of its 2017 operating cash flow on purchasing Bitcoin Cash. Although this could be an exaggeration, some of the Bitcoin Cash would have been inherited from pre-fork Bitcoin. The figures imply that around 71,560 of the 1,021,316 Bitcoin Cash coins could have been inherited in this way. 

Bitmain use of 2017 cashflow – $m

(Source: Bitmain pre-IPO documents, BitMEX Research)

The situation is even worse than the above indicates. Not only did Bitmain spend a majority of the 2017 cash flow into Bitcoin Cash, they also spent a majority of cash flow from their entire history of operations, into Bitcoin Cash. The documents show that Bitmain generated no cash flow in in 2016 and then only $25m in Q1 2018 (perhaps due to large TSMC prepayments).

Bitmain operating cashflow – $m

(Source: Bitmain pre-IPO documents, BitMEX Research)

In a sense of course none of this matters. Bitmain spent their own funds on risky assets and they knew the risks. For a public company the situation could be a different, with investors expecting the company to invest in core operations or return money to investors. Although perhaps our expectations for governance here are too high for Hong Kong.

Why are Bitmain doing the IPO?

In our view the primary motivating factor for the IPO is simply that Bitmain’s competitors are also planning on doing them and the industry is fiercely competitive, as Bitmain’s loss making prices indicate. Rival Canaan Creative are planning on an IPO and Bitmain are unlikely to let them obtain such a funding advantage. Bitmain’s IPO should deduct money from the pool of capital that could otherwise be invested in Canaan as well as the other miners and it is therefore a good complement to the strategy of lowering prices.

The other reason for the IPO may be to strengthen the balance sheet after investing the majority of the operating cash flow into Bitcoin Cash. Bitmain only had around $105 million of cash on the balance sheet as at March 2018, when this figure could have been nearer a billion dollars if the company hadn’t acquired so much Bitcoin Cash. At the same time the business does require a lot of cash, for example the large advance cash payments TSMC require, which reached a peak of $866m in 2017.

The debate over Bitmain’s technological advantage

Nobody can challenge the performance and scale of Bitmain’s operations Bitmain is losing its lead and has not increased the performance of its miners in over two years
  • It is true that Bitmain competitors have recently released more efficient mining machines than Bitmain, however this is only part of the picture. The figures show that in the past 27 months, Bitmain has delivered 1.9 million S9’s and 3.0 million mining machines in total. No competitor has the capability to deliver on anything like that scale. Rivals can at best deliver a few hundred thousand machines per annum
  • At the same time, although machines from rivals are more efficient, Bitmain’s S9 product is more reliable and has less variance with respect to the hashrate
  • For example, although the Dragonmint T1 product is more efficient, according to official figures. the hashrate variance is higher than expected, this is not acceptable for low margin mining farm operators, who need a predictable product for budgeting purposes. The S9 is the only product that has the necessary reliability
  • Bitmain is the largest player and is lowering prices, such that the other ASIC design companies are now under severe financial stress. Bitmain has already attracted investments from some of the top VC funds in Silicon Valley and the upcoming IPO will ensure Bitmain’s dominance for years to come
  • The Bitmain S9, a 16nm product, was released in December 2015, with an efficiency of around 110 W/TH. The company has not successfully innovated or improved its Bitcoin miner performance since then. This is over 2 and a half years ago
  • Since early 2017 Bitmain has tried to release at least three new more efficient Bitcoin mining chips, one at 16nm, one at 12nm and more recently 10nm in March 2018. Each of these releases failed, costing Bitmain hundreds of millions of dollars. Even TSMC themselves have mentioned that they think the Bitmain investment strategy is too optimistic, which may be part of the reason they insist on such large prepayments
  • These failed tapeouts have finally resulted in competitors producing better machines, today the Innosilicon T2 and ShenMA M10 are more efficient than the S9, with a 80W/TH and 65W/TH performance respectively
  • Bitmain has lost its technological edge as key staff, such as former director of design Dr Yang Zuoxing, have left. Dr Yang is said to have founded a rival mining firm which was sued by Bitmain for a patent violation 
  • Without the ability to innovate and produce better equipment, the only way Bitmain can generate sales is by lowering prices, until eventually the company loses its dominant market position
  • This desperate situation is why some claim that Bitmain tried to mislead investors into thinking it had received an investment from the government investment funds in Singapore. Although we have seen no compelling evidence of Bitmain misleading in the way suggested

The narrative surrounding Bitmain’s technical capabilities can be spun in either direction and as ever the truth may lie somewhere in the middle. However, one thing is clear, if these mining companies do go public, the picture should be far less murky going forwards and we think that could be a significant positive for the cryptocurrency community.

Conclusion

In a way some of Bitmain’s biggest mistakes, such as producing too many units and buying too many speculative altcoins in a bull market, are somewhat analogous to the typical behaviour of mining company management teams.  For instance gold mining firms often invest in high cost assets in bull markets and then fail to invest in quality low cost assets in bear markets. Perhaps it is not totally fair to blame these companies, the hedge funds and institutional investors who own the shares are often just as, if not more, at fault. Greed, fear and the emotions of market moves can affect us all. Therefore although Bitmain has made mistakes, in many ways they are not unusual or unexpected.

We are sure you have heard it before, but “cryptocurrency is here to stay”. In that environment we think Bitmain has the ingredients to be one of the great companies in the space. Bitmain can be a legendary crypto company, generating strong shareholder returns for decades to come, but in order to achieve this (and it’s a lot harder than it sounds) the Bitmain management team may need to improve their management of company resources. Once the company goes public, capital allocation decisions in this volatile and unpredictable market will be difficult enough, letting emotions impact too many investment decisions may not be tolerated.

 

中本聪有一百万个比特币吗?

摘要:我们研究了在 2009 年,一位矿工能主导比特币的程度到底有多大。我们回顾了 2013 年塞尔吉奥·德米安·勒纳( Sergio Demian Lerner )的分析,他通过分析当时区块中 ExtraNonce 值的增加发现了不同的区块都与同一矿工的矿机相关。我们以他的分析作为基础并得出结论,尽管论证远没有许多人认为的那么完美,但有合理的证据表明,在 2009 年具有单一的优势的矿工可以产出约 700,000 个比特币。尽管我们的分析本身不够有力,但没有一个完美的方法来论证这个问题。

 

2009 年开采出来的比特币 – ExtraNonce 与区块高度

(资料来源: BitMEX 研究,比特币区块链)

 

2009 年占主导地位的矿工的辩论史

在 2013 年 4 月初,区块链研究员塞尔吉奥·德米安·勒纳试图争辩说,中本聪在 2009 年开采了一百万个比特币。这个断言背后的逻辑是基于 2009 年的哈希值一直处于低水平,大约每秒 700 万,这相当于仅一个矿工的垄断水平。与此同时,这个哈希值大约与比特币刚上线前 14 天的哈希值相同,塞尔吉奥认为这短时期整个网络只有中本聪一个矿工。社区中的许多人对塞尔吉奥的说法持怀疑态度。其持怀疑态度的主要原因基于以下几点:

  1. 7 MH /秒的预计是基于区块时间戳推测而来的并且不可靠,样本大小也不够大
  2. 没有理由相信山本聪在前 14 天内都在独自挖矿
  3. 许多人都记得在该期间有采过矿
  4. 塞尔吉奥关于硬件的假设是错误的

很可能有些人可能会偏向否定塞尔吉奥的说法,因为如果中本聪在早期开采了大量比例的代币,对某些人来 说这可能会损害整个代币系统的完整性。然而,我们认为,塞尔吉奥最初提出的论证的确有些薄弱。

 

ExtraNonce 重磅来袭

就在几天后,塞尔吉奥在他的博客上发表了一个更有说服力的论点及更而强有力的证据证明当初一个矿工曾经占主导地位。这最终说服了社区中的许多人,直到今天,许多人都认为中本聪可能开采了大约一百万个比特币。

塞尔吉奥的证据集中在名为 ExtraNonce 的东西。 ExtraNonce 不是比特币系统的一部分,因为它不是共识规则的一部分,也没有任何关于如何该字段应该如何解释的官方说法。 ExtraNonce 是 Coinbase 交易中的一个部分,一旦区块头中的标准随机数用完,它可以在几次哈希尝试后为矿工提供额外的熵。如下图所示,随着 ExtraNonce 的变化,它将沿着 merkle 树向上影响到区块头(尽管在 2009 年,大多数区块仅包含 Coinbase ,因为系统当时太不用于交易。)

(比特币区块结构的说明图)


塞尔吉奥发表了下面的图片,其中 Y 轴上为 ExtraNonce 而 X 轴上为区块高度(他错误地将 X 轴标记为时间)。图像显示 ExtraNonce 的坡度随时间而增加。一些斜坡(黑色)据说具有相似的梯度,它们不会重叠,而且一旦达到一定高度它们就会回落到零。这某程度代表了所有的黑线都属于一个矿工(很可能是中本聪)而且这个矿工现在控制了近百万比特币。虽然关于斜坡的梯度,高度和缺乏重叠等技术要点都很难理解和评估,但我们认为图像本身显然非常有说服力。

(资料来源: Bitslong


新的 BitMEX 研究 – 单一矿工分配区块

我们决定重复塞尔吉奥的分析,但我们的目标是计算由单一实体挖掘的区块数量并了解所有区块分配。该分析很有挑战性,因为斜坡与许多其他点有着相互作用。因此,不可能进行准确的分配。因此,我们的分析绝非完美,我们多种方法并用,包括统计分析,随机数生成器甚至手动审查来分配一些区块。我们过程中可能会犯很多错误,我们并不认为我们的方法是完美的或科学的。然而,据我们所知,这是第一次有人尝试论证 2009 年的每个区块分配是否属于单一实体。下面的高分辨率图片代表了我们认为 2009 年每个区块的分配情况。

 

2009 年开采的比特币区块 – 单一矿工获得的分配 –  ExtraNonce 值( y 轴)与区块高度(轴)

(资料来源: BitMEX 研究,比特币区块链)

 

区块分配分析

截至 2009 年 8 月,我们同意塞尔吉奥的结论。在 8 月份之前,有 22 个斜坡,它们都具有相似的高度和坡度(大约每个区块增加 4 个 ExtraNonce )。同时,这些斜坡几乎从不重叠。(在一些情况下,不到 5 个区块的重叠显然是巧合)。

2009 年 8 月以后,上述现象在一定程度上有所改变。斜坡的斜率变化很大(从每个区块的 nonces 从 1.1 到10 )。同时,斜坡高度不一致,两者之间存在较大的间隙。因此,尽管图像看起来仍然令人信服,在我们看来,认为矿工是一个实体的依据是有点薄弱的。我们给出了以下的结果,其中包含 2009 年 8 月前后的数据。

类别 区块数目 比特币数目
分配给占主导低位的矿工 14,815 740,750
弱分布( 2009  年 8 月以后) 4,553 227,650
总数量 19,368 968,400
未分布 16,920 846,000
汇总数量 36,288 1,814,400

(资料来源: BitMEX 研究,比特币区块链)

 

关于分析说服力的辩论

分析支持方 分析怀疑方
  • 图像非常有代表性,它很明显的说明了有一个占主导地位的矿工。 虽然很难很完美的从统计上的概念来解释的非常清楚,但结论是很明显的。
  • 许多斜坡具有以下特征:
    1. 相似的梯度
    2. 相似的高度
    3. 通常一个斜坡的开始是紧接着一个斜坡的结束
    4. 这些斜坡很少重叠
    5. 许多斜坡长达上百个区块
  • 这些也太过于巧合了。因此,许多区块别单一实体开采的可能性是非常高的。
  • 尽管 ExtraNonce 分析本身很有趣并具有启发性,当它一涉及到预测占主导地位矿工开采的代币数量时,基本上是没有用的。分配代币时使用的方法包括最大化每个斜坡中的区块数,用这个方法是因为没有其他可用的分配机制。因此预计出来分配给占主导地位的矿工的区块数量是被高估的。
  • 该分析是构建在逻辑谬误上的。在任何时期,都会有至少一家矿工在 ExtraNonce 中占有最大份额或占有最快增长速度的 ExtraNonce 。也有少数类型的斜坡是不重叠的。将来自不同潜在矿工斜坡放在一起是具有误导性的,并且可能基于错误的逻辑推理。
  • 即便斜坡是类似的,这也可能是因为不同的实体有相似的设置,每个矿工都不是独立的,他们可能只是正在运行相同的软件,或者使用相同的流行硬件,导致看似相同的模式。

 

结论

总而言之,尽管有些强而有力的证据表明在 2009 年有一家占主导地位的矿工,但我们认为这些证据远没有许多人想象的那么具有说服力。虽然有图有真相,有时图片可能有点误导。即使有人相信塞尔吉奥的说法,我们认为该证据也只是支持这样的说法, 占主导地位的矿工可能产出的比特币远远少于一百万个比特币。也许600,000到700,000 个比特币是一个比较接近的估算。

上面没有提到占主导地位的矿工是否是中本聪,虽然我们知道中本聪挖掘了 9 号区块,我们在分析中也已经分配该区块给占主导地位的矿工。然而,这是一个只有 11 个区块的斜坡,所以它肯定无法给出决定性的结论。无论谁是主要的矿工,钥匙都有可能已经丢失或被丢弃。

我们以一句中本聪的名言来结尾并作为参考:

为什么不保留您的钱包以备不时只需而要删除它呢?您不应该删除您的钱包。

(资料来源: bitcointalk

尽管我们是有点断章取义。。。

 

 

 

欢迎转载,请注明文章来自

BitMEX (www.bitmex.com)

Does Satoshi have a million bitcoin?

Abstract: We examine the extent to which one miner dominated Bitcoin in 2009. We review Sergio Demian Lerner’s 2013 analysis, where he discovered that the increase in the ExtraNonce value in the block can potentially be used to link different blocks to the same miner. We build on his analysis and conclude that although the evidence is far less robust than many assume, there is reasonable evidence that a single dominant miner in 2009 could have generated around 700,000 bitcoin. Although our analysis itself is weak and there is no perfect way of approaching this problem.

Bitcoin blocks mined in 2009 – ExtraNonce vs block height


(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain)

The history of the debate over the dominant miner in 2009

Towards the start of April 2013, blockchain researcher Sergio Demian Lerner attempted to argue that Satoshi had mined a million bitcoin in 2009. The logic behind this assertion was that the hashrate throughout 2009 was at a low level, around 7 million hashes per second and this was said to be consistent with one miner being highly dominant. At the same time this hashrate was around the same to that which was present in Bitcoin’s first 14 days, which Sergio assumes may be a period in which Satoshi was the only miner. Many in the community were sceptical of Sergio’s claims. The scepticism seems to be based on the following:

  1. The 7 MH/second estimate is based on block timestamps and unreliable, nor is the sample size large enough
  2. There is no reason to believe Satoshi mined alone in the first 14 days
  3. Many individuals recalled mining themselves in the period
  4. Sergio’s assumptions about hardware were incorrect

It is likely that some people could have been biased in dismissing Sergio’s claims, since if Satoshi had mined a significant proportion of the early coins, in the eyes of some that could damage the monetary integrity of the system. However, in our view, the evidence Sergio initially presented was somewhat weak.

The ExtraNonce bombshell

Just a few days later, Sergio then posted a far more persuasive argument on his blog, with much stronger evidence that a single miner was dominant. This then eventually convinced many in the community and to this day many people believe Satoshi is likely to have mined around one million bitcoin.

Sergio’s evidence centred around something called the ExtraNonce. The ExtraNonce is not part of the Bitcoin protocol, in that it is not part of the consensus rules nor is there a formal specification about how to interpret the field. The ExtraNonce is an area in the Coinbase transaction which can vary after several hashing attempts to provide extra entropy for miners, once the standard nonce in the block header has been used up. As the image below illustrates, as the ExtraNonce changes, the impact works its way up the merkle tree into the block header (although in 2009 most blocks contained only the Coinbase transaction, as the network was not used for transactions.)

(Illustrative diagram of the structure of a Bitcoin block)

Sergio published the below picture, with the ExtraNonce on the y-axis and the blockheight on the x-axis (He incorrectly labeled the x-axis as time). The image shows that the ExtraNonce increase over time, in a series of slopes. Some of the slopes (in black) are said to be of a similar gradient, not to overlap and to go back down to zero once they reach a certain height. This is said to demonstrate that all the black lines belonged to one miner (potentially Satoshi) and that this miner now controlled almost a million Bitcoin. Although the technical points about the gradient of the slopes, the height and the lack of overlap may be quite difficult to appreciate and evaluate, the image itself is clearly very powerful and persuasive, in our view.

(Source: Bitslog)

The new BitMEX Research allocation of blocks to the dominant miner

We decided to repeat Sergio’s analysis, except our objective was to count the blocks mined by the apparent single entity and allocate all the blocks. The excercise was challenging, since the slopes interact with many other points. It is therefore impossible to do an accurate allocation. As a result, our analysis is far from perfect and we used a variety of methods, including statistical analysis, random number generators and even manual review to allocate some blocks. We will have made many errors and we do not claim our methodology is robust or scientific. However, as far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to allocate every block in 2009 as belonging to the apparent single entity or not. The below high resolution image below represents our allocation for every block in 2009.

Bitcoin blocks mined in 2009 – Allocation to the dominant miner – ExtraNonce value (y-axis) vs block height (axis)

(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain)

Analysis of the allocation

Up to August 2009 we agree with Sergio’s conclusion.  There are 22 slopes prior to August, which all have both similar height and gradient (Around an increase in the value of the ExtraNonce by 4 per block found). At the same time these slopes almost never overlap. (The tiny amount of apparent overlap in some instances in less than 5 blocks and therefore may just be coincidence).

After August 2009 the pattern breaks down to some extent. The gradient of the slopes varies considerably (from 1.1 nonces per block to 10 nonces per block). At the same time the height of the slopes is inconsistent and there are many large gaps between them. Therefore although the image still looks compelling, the evidence that the miner is one entity is somewhat weak, in our view. We have presented results below, which include figures both pre and post August 2009.

Category Number of blocks Number of bitcoin
Allocated to the dominant miner 14,815 740,750
Weak allocation (After August 2009) 4,553 227,650
Total 19,368 968,400
Not allocated 16,920 846,000
Grand total 36,288 1,814,400

(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain)

Debate over the strength of the analysis

Supporting the analysis Weaknesses of the analysis
  • The image is highly powerful, just looking at it illustrates there is a dominant miner. Although explaining it statistically may be challenging, the conclusion is clear.
  • Many of the slopes have the following characteristics:
    1. A similar gradient to each other
    2. Similar heights
    3. Slopes often start shortly after another slope has finished
    4. The slopes rarely overlap
    5. Many of the slopes are hundreds of blocks long
  • This is all too much to be a coincidence. Therefore the evidence that many of the blocks were mined by a single entity is highly compelling
  • Although the ExtraNonce analysis is interesting and revealing, when it comes to estimating the number of coins mined by the dominant miner, it is essentially useless. The methodology used when conducting the allocation involves maximising the number of blocks in each slope, this is required due to the lack of any other available mechanism for allocation. Therefore the number of blocks allocated to the dominant miner is grossly overestimated.
  • The analysis is built on a logical fallacy. In any period there is going to be at least one miner who has the largest share or the steepest rate of increase in the ExtraNonce. There are also going to be at least some types slopes which do not overlap. Grouping these slopes from potentially different miners together is misleading and potentially based on flawed reasoning.
  • Even if the slopes are similar, this could be because different entities had a similar setup. Each miner is not independent, in the sense that they are likely to be running the same software or could be using the same popular hardware, which could produce the same pattern.

Conclusion

In conclusion, although there is strong evidence of a dominant miner in 2009, we think the evidence is far less robust than many have assumed. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes pictures can be a little misleading. Even if one is convinced, the evidence only supports the claim that the dominant miner may have generated significantly less than a million bitcoin in our view. Perhaps 600,000 to 700,000 bitcoin is a better estimate.

None of the above says much about whether the dominant miner was Satoshi, although we know Satoshi mined block 9, which we have allocated to the dominant miner in our analysis. However this is in a slope of just 11 blocks, so it’s certainly not conclusive. Whoever the dominant miner was, it is of course possible the keys have been lost or discarded by now.

We will end with one famous quote from Satoshi to consider:

Why delete a wallet instead of moving it aside and keeping the old copy just in case?  You should never delete a wallet.

(Source: Bitcointalk)

Although, maybe we are giving that quote out of context…

 

比特币价格在 2011 年 6 月瞬间崩盘至 0.01 美元

摘要:我们将了解 2011 年 6 月 MtGox 交易所上的比特币价格升至 32 美元后突然崩盘跌至 0.01 美元的事件情况。我们将探讨 MtGox 的无能,并分析价格崩盘的原因。然后我们再来看看崩盘后发生的政治斗争和市场不确定性。

 

2011 年 5 月至 2011 年 6 月 18 日的比特币价格

(资料来源: YouTube , MtGox , BitMEX 研究 )

概述

如果您喜欢价格波动和市场丑闻,那么 2011 年夏天的比特币是个激动人心的。在几天的时间里,比特币的价格在 MtGox 交易所从最高的 32 美元暴跌至 0.01 美元, MtGox 是一个位于东京的交易平台,当时占据市场主导地位。这件事发生的几个月前,价格才由 2 美元左右升到 32 美元。跌至 0.01 美元这件事现在已成为比特币历史上的一个着名事件。

在这篇文章中,我们将分析价格崩盘的原因及其后果。当时的主要交易所 –  MtGox ,在事件上疏忽了,这对比特币本身来说并非是个有利的宣传。但在我们看来,具有讽刺意味的是,那个夏天发生的事件,使得越来越多人对比特币有兴趣了。

 

MtGox 的安全问题和事件经过

引发了 2011 年 6 月的价格崩盘以及围绕着 MtGox 的黑客行为问题从未得到充分解释。比特币社区充斥着关于 MtGox 是否有足够得流动性及比特币到底被盗了多少的传闻。

感谢金·尼尔森( Kim Nilsson )在 2017 年发布的一份报告,我们现在对 2011 年发生的事件以及其对 MtGox 造成的损害有了相对深刻的了解。具有讽刺意味的是,尽管该事件对市场及 MtGox 的声誉(尤其是其偿付能力)产生了很大影响,但与其他安全事件相比,这一事件的经济伤害是微不足道的。然而,对许多人来说,这让他们对 MtGox 有了新的认识,这表明其严重缺乏监控系统,良好的治理,控制和安全措施。

下表列出了 MtGox 交易所的一些主要安全事件, 2011 年 6 月的黑客攻击以绿色高亮表示。与总损失的 837,000 个比特币相比,这一事件只损失了 2,000 个比特币,这是一个相对较小的数额。

 

已知 MtGox 的比特币损失列表

日期 事件名称 注释 损失金额(美元) 损失金额( BTC )
2011 年 1 月 20 日 自由储备资金提取(一) 50,000
2011 年 1 月 30 日 自由储备资金提取(二) 一个用户声称他账户中突然出现了 20 亿美元,他将其全数取走了。然而似乎没有发生电汇转账,所以可能没有损失。
2011 年 3 月 1 日 钱包窃取(一) 黑客从服务器获取了 MtGox wallet.dat 文件。是提款交易相关文件。截至 2018 年 7 月 19 日,被盗的 80,000 个比特币从未被移动过。 80,000
2011 年 3 月 22 日 钱包窃取(二) 据说有人获取了一个持有 300,000 个比特币的钱包,这个比特币钱包以在未加密状态储存在公共硬盘上。小偷决定退还 297,000 个比特币,保留 1% 作为交易费用。还回的交易数量为 280,00017,000 3,000
2011 年 6 月 19 日 价格下跌至 0.01 美元 黑客获取了杰德·麦卡勒布

( Jed McCaleb )的管理账户,卖掉账户中的比特币以便压低价格,他以每天 1,000 美元的限额尽可能提取比特币。其他以低价购入比特币的用户也可能已经将资金提走。

2,000
2011 年 8 月 11 日 Bitomat 在该公司删除其私钥后,承担了 Bitomat 的债务 17,000
2011 年 9 月 数据库入侵 一名黑客获得了对数据库的编写访问权,并提高了余额以提取资金 77,500
2011 年 9 月 钱包窃取(三) 黑客再次获取了主要 wallet.dat 文件,并于 2011 年 10 月开始提取资金。

MtGox 似乎没有注意到这一点。

603,000
2011 年 10 月 错误存款记录 上述黑客提取资金的交易被错误地记录为新的 MtGox 存款,总计 44,300 个比特币。这导致客户在其账户中看到的存款余额增加了。因此,黑客对 MtGox 造成的损害比被盗加密币的总值更高。然而,部分错误已得到纠正,因此净影响可能约为 30,000 个比特币。 30,000
2011 年 10 月 28 日 销毁比特币 软件错误导致资金发送后无法进行兑换。

此类交易的示例可点击此处此处找到

2,609
2013 年 5 月及 8 月 美国执法部门扣押资金 美国联邦调查局扣押了MtGox 的 Dwolla 账户中的资金,原因是该交易所没有符合美国法规。 5,000,000
2013 年 5 月 Coinlab 争议 Coinlab 根据牌照争议起诉 MtGox 。 5,000,000
2011 年至 2013 年 Willy Bot MtGox 交易计划旨在弥补上述损失中的一部分,但实际上最终使事情变得更糟 51,600,000 22,800
总额 61,650,000 837,909

(资料来源:Cracking MtGox , BitMEX 研究)

 

2011 年 6 月发生的事件概览

截至 6 月 19 日之前的几周内,许多 MtGox 用户表明他们的账户曾遭到黑客入侵。大约在同一时间, MtGox 用户的数据库,包括他们密码中的 MD5 哈希(具有不明确/不一致的盐策略)都泄露了出去。许多客户密码被破解了。一些客户在另一个交易平台 Tradehill 使用相同的密码认证也遇到了安全问题。尽管如此, MtGox 并没有暂停交易,该决定受到许多客户质疑。

东京时间 6 月 20 日凌晨 3 点,交易所涌现出了大量卖单,价格从 17.50 美元左右跌至 0.01 美元,交易在此水平上持续了几分钟,然后才恢复。这造成了高度不确定性,有些人甚至以为是比特币网络出现了问题。

现在看来,实际发生的情况可能是黑客可能已经获得了杰德·麦卡勒布( Jed McCaleb )账户的访问权,杰德·麦卡勒布( Jed McCaleb )是 MtGox 的创始人,他在三个月前将交易所卖给了马克·卡佩莱斯( Mark Karpeles )。此账户似乎保留了对数据库的管理权限,因此黑客能够操纵账户余额并在 MtGox 系统上为自己授予大量比特币。黑客很可能已经开始出售这些加密币。

我们认为 MtGox 没有意识到他们管理不善的问题,即便是在黑客攻击之后,就该事件公司给出的解释也是不完整或不准确的。

 

提现限额

当时, MtGox 的每日提款限额为 1,000 美元,这适用于比特币和美元(通过 Dwolla )。这意味着黑客(或通过以低价购买比特币而受益于黑客行为的任何其他人)将无法通过提取资金获利,除非在 1,000 美元的限额以内。然而, 1,000 美元的比特币限额是基于平台上比特币的市场价格而定的,并且由于比特币价格下降到 0.01 美元,理论上每个用户可以提取的最大额度是 100,000 个比特币,这当然不是个小数目。

然而,幸运的是, MtGox 似乎还有一个基于比特币数目的提款限制,很多用户都没有意识到这一点。正如马克·卡佩莱斯( Mark Karpeles )当时所说:

2011-06-20 00:16:43 MagicalTux 的 btc 提款限额救了我们

(资料来源:IRC,注:马克·卡佩莱斯是 MtGox的首席执行官兼所有人)

 

马克随后提到,在该事件发生后仅被提走了约 2,000 个比特币,这对于 MtGox 来说是一个相对正面的结果。

被提走约 2,000 个比特币

(资料来源:IRC )

 

当时人们对这个数字非常怀疑,许多人认为被盗的数量远远超过这个金额。带有讽刺意味的是,这个 2,000 个比特币的数字现在看来似乎是正确的,然而 MtGox 在其他事件中损失得更多。由于价格崩盘和交易暂停,此事件在当时的曝光度非常高,导致 MtGox 平台的无能被广泛宣传。

 

回溯争议

在价格崩盘期间,许多投资者都以 0.01 美元的价格交易。一些投资者不愿意错过从 1 美元到 32 美元左右的价格反弹,因此在系统中输入了等待买入的委托,买入委托的金额一直到 0.01 美元。对他们而言,这次崩盘正是他们所期待的。令许多这些投资者感到沮丧的是,在事件发生后, MtGox 表示他们将回溯所发生的交易:

在我们回溯东京时间 6 月 20 日凌晨 3 点发生的巨大比特币销售之后的所有交易后,比特币将回到 17.5 美元左右。当时一个拥有大量加密币的账户遭到入侵,无论谁偷走了它(使用香港的 IP 登录),他们首先卖掉账户里的所有加密币,然后再买回那些加密币,其后尝试取出买回的加密币。 1,000 美元/天的提款限额在此账户中有效,黑客只能取出价值 1,000 美元的加密币。除此之外,没有任何账户受到损害,也没有任何损失。由于这对比特币市场产生了巨大影响,我们将回溯自大甩卖以来发生的每笔交易,并确保此账户在再次开放之前是安全的。

(资料来源: MtGox )

 

在 MtGox 做出该宣布后,市场上对就是否应该进行回溯进行了大量辩论。很明显,回溯的结果对辩论的许多参与方有着经济利益,这无疑会影响他们的观点。在许多方面,这个回溯与以太坊网络上在 2016 年 DAO “回溯” 之间存在一些相似之处,在辩论中也出现了类似的论点。

支持回溯 反对回溯
  • 大多数传统交易所倾向于在特殊情况下回溯交易,特别是如果交易以极不寻常的价格发生。在该情况下,价格是极端且不寻常的。
  • 比特币是被盗窃所得来的,因此用户不应受益于该赃物。
  • 比特币可能只是 MtGox 数据库中的记录,并不存在,因此他们可能无法交付加密币。
  • MtGox 应承担责任并赔偿所有相关方。特别是 MtGox 在此事件发生几周前并没有采取适当的行动。许多用户已经表示他们的账户被入侵, MtGox 依然允许继续交易。
  • MtGox 对该事件没有任何对策,因此应遵守及承认这些交易。
  • 如果 MtGox 在这种情况下回溯交易,那么以后用户可能不再次信任他们。
  • 回溯是一个单方面的决定,如果只有少量的资金被盗, MtGox 会选择回溯交易吗?这似乎对穷人和富人有着不同规则。
  • 尽管有一些主要传统交易所在特殊情况下回溯交易的例子,但他们在也有些情况下也没有这样做。
  • 遵守及承认交易更加符合适者生存,全天候交易的加密币社区文化,这些方面当时比今天更为普遍。

加密币社区似乎在这个问题上存在分歧,有些人甚至认为应该投票决定。

 

某位投资者用 2,622 美元购买了 26 万个比特币

事件发生后的第二天,一位名叫“凯文”的投资者声称在崩盘事故中购买了大约 260,000 个比特币,并且表示他应该有这些比特币的所有权。他解释说:

我的 MtGox 账户中有大约 3,000 美元,这是我通过早期销售加密币获得的。我查看了市场统计数据,并意识到有大量委托以 0.01 美元的价格购买 BTC,这将满足卖方委托上所有卖剩的比特币。我想如果我以 0.0101 美元的价格买入,我的委托会优先执行,因此我可以买到大量的比特币。

(资料来源: Bitcointalk

凯文发布了他声称的交易确认信息:

06/19/11 17:51 以 0.0101 美元买入 BTC 259684.77

凯文然后继续解释价格崩盘背后的可能原因,即卖家试图操纵价格下跌,以便他们可以在 1,000 美元限制内提取更多加密币。在我们看来,凯文的表述很可能是对价格崩盘的准确解释。这种逻辑与 MtGox 的说法存在矛盾,即进行黑客攻击的人其实是比特币的买方。

我可以在 0.001 美元的价格开一个较大的卖单委托,再次使市场崩盘,并且可以提取所有的比特币,因为它们的价值为每个跌倒 0.001 美元,将可以将总提款额压到低于 1,000 美元的限制。我决定坚决反对这种做法,当我意识到开巨大卖单委托的人可能也是出于同样的原因。

然而,某些人怀疑凯文的故事的准确性,认为凯文声称的交易量与 MtGox 数据不一致。在 0.0101 美元的崩盘时,该数据显示交易量仅为 55,000 个比特币,并且在此期间只交易了 238,000 个比特币。似乎只有 3,000 个比特币以 0.0101 美元的价格交易了。这些数字低于凯文暗示的数字,尽管凯文声称的交易由于各种原因可能被排除在这些数据之外。众所周知,该数据的可靠性也只是一般,并且不清楚数据的信息本身有否精确的定义。在我们看来,没有理由相信任何一方所表述的全部真相,但凯文对崩盘的解释似乎是合理的。

 

MtGox 在崩盘期间的报价

(资料来源: BitMEX 研究, MtGox 。注:比特币交易量)

 

储备证明

MtGox 交易所停止了几周,许多用户对平台的偿付能力感到焦虑。丢失的比特币数量存在不确定性,用户担心 MtGox 面临挤兑的风险,最终将导致交易所进入清算和用户亏损。为了减少这些担忧,正如下面的聊天记录和比特币交易所示, MtGox 试图通过 2011 年 7 月 18 日的链上交易来证明它拥有大量的比特币。

 

IRC 聊天记录 –  2011 年 7 月 18 日

(资料来源:  IRC Logs )

(资料来源:  blockchain.info )

 

当时,上述行动似乎缓解了许多投资者的紧张情绪。

 

结论

在这些事件发生几周后,经过多次犯错, MtGox 最终恢复交易,涉及大金额交易被回溯。然而,到目前为止,据我们所知, MtGox 无法对发生的事情提供一个一致的解释。  MtGox 缺乏一致性的叙述导致许多人认为 MtGox 对其系统的监控和掌握是很差的,而且公司疏忽了。许多人总结道,“永远不要再相信 MtGox了。”

然而不幸的是, MtGox 不知何故继续作为交易所在加密币生态圈中占据了三年的主导地位。然而,当人们看到当今生态圈中某些平台和参与者的行为和透明度,我们至少可以得出结论,与 2011 年相比,市场从有了显着的改善。

 

 

欢迎转载,请注明文章来自

BitMEX (www.bitmex.com)