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FEB 28, 2024

Profitability eludes Canaan despite further growth

by CoinNess Global

Beijing-headquartered crypto mining equipment manufacturer Canaan recently revealed its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2023, demonstrating that it continues to struggle with profitability despite positive numbers relative to revenues and growth.

Increased revenues and sales

According to the company’s filing, during the last quarter of 2023 Canaan reported a surge of 45.7% in total computing power sold compared to the preceding quarter, reaching 5.5 million Thash/s. This ascent, which reflects a 191.9% increase from the same period in 2022, signifies not just a recovery but a robust resurgence in demand and operational ability.
The company's dispatch of 19.6 million Thash/s throughout the year, marking a 29.6% leap from 2022, aligns with the rebound in bitcoin prices observed in Q4 2023, a pivotal factor shaping Canaan's operational revitalization.

47% growth on previous quarter

A closer examination of the financials reveals not only surpassing total revenues but also a notable 47.3% quarter-over-quarter growth. Canaan's foray into international markets, bolstered by securing substantial orders from esteemed public company clients, underscores a buoyant sales performance and a positive outlook for the computing sector.
Despite the buoyant sales and revenue figures particularly in the mining machine market, the sector has faced ongoing regulatory uncertainties and market fluctuations. Nonetheless, the company's strategic initiatives, alongside the positive market effects of the approval and listing of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), have been positive.
Moreover, Canaan's investments in wafer supply capabilities and strategic financial maneuvers garnered approximately US$136 million through at-the-market (ATM) programs and preferred shares.

Recording a loss

Yet, the company’s journey in 2023 was not without its hurdles. Q4 2023 witnessed a significant increase in product revenues from the previous quarter but a decline from Q4 2022, attributed to dwindling sales prices as the halving event loomed, underscoring the volatility inherent in the cryptocurrency market. Results published last year are indicative of the company’s difficulty. In Q2 2023, revenues were strong, yet the company wasn’t turning a profit.
With Q4 results, it’s now clear that the firm lost $421 million in 2023. In Q4, Canaan recorded a net loss of $139 million. That compares with a loss of $91 million in Q4, 2022. The company also expects tough market conditions in 2024. In its forward-looking outlook, it stated:
”For the first quarter of 2024, and the second quarter of 2024, the Company expects total revenues to be approximately US$33 million and US$70 million, respectively, considering the challenging market conditions across the industry. This forecast reflects the Company’s current and preliminary views on the market and operational conditions, which are subject to change.”
The crypto mining sector remains a very challenging market. With the upcoming Bitcoin halving event set to occur in April, it’s expected that as much as 20% of mining capacity could be forced offline, as some equipment would simply fail to mine on a profitable basis.
Indicative of the challenges within the sector, crypto miner Core Scientific was forced into bankruptcy due to market difficulties in December 2022. It has only recently exited that bankruptcy process and now expects to generate revenues of $600 million in 2024. Another Bitcoin miner, Riot Platforms, has warned that profitability may be difficult to achieve in 2024 due to chip shortages.
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