New US trade tariffs aimed at China will have a significant impact on the profits of crypto mining equipment manufacturers.
Chinese cryptocurrency mining hardware maker Bitmain stands to be the hardest hit by these new tariffs as its Antminer S9 gets reclassified by the office of the United States Trade Representative as “electrical machinery apparatus” which will now incur a 2.6 percent trade tariff.
The reclassification of mining gear from their original status as “data processing machines” also brings crypto mining hardware into another goods category which will add a further tariff of 25 percent, bringing the new tariff total from zero to 27.6 percent overnight.
The new tariffs couldn’t be worse timed for China with mining gear giant Bitmain, along with two of the world largest manufactures of crypto mining equipment, Canaan and Ebang International, all filing to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Bitmain filed in September and is waiting to hear the outcome which could result in raising $3 billion. An executive at consultancy firm Quinlan & Associates explained:
“The marked decline in the price of bitcoin since the start of the year is likely to weigh on investors’ interest in these companies… [Yet] the fall in the price of bitcoin from its peaks has not been matched by an equivalent fall in the numbers of people mining it.”
Ben Gagnon co-founder of LuTech, a bitcoin mining hardware developer suggested that there had been increased activity in the mining sector over the past 18 months, but feels that the impact of the new tariffs will start to kick in:
“All manufacturers of mining rigs based in China will likely be affected by the tariff code change and, in turn, be captured by the US trade tariff.”
Bitmain’s IPO prospectus claimed that overseas sales made up for 51 percent and 51.8 percent of its revenue in 2016 and 2017 respectively, but neglected to stipulate exactly where the majority of these sales were concentrated. Canaan’s and Ebang International’s overseas sales represented 8.5 percent and 3.8 percent of their total revenue in 2017 respectively.
Bitmain has had little to say on the possible effect of President Trump’s trade tariffs, but Mark Li, the senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, thinks that the company’s concerns that its technology is falling behind its competitors are likely to be their major focus.
A statement, prepared for Bitmain’s IPO, simply warned that changes in tax rates “due to economic and political conditions” may impact on the company’s financial status.
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