If I had a billion dollars: Crypto and Monkey Business Edition

If I had a billion dollars the first thing I’d do is buy a monkey.

Not a howler monkey or a languor monkey, or one of those that gets creative with how they say hello, but a regular capuchin monkey—one that hasn’t reached puberty yet so he doesn’t get aggressive. His name would be Jocko, and he’d wear a top hat and slacks and hold my hand when we went everywhere.


Two reasons:

  1. I’ve always wanted a monkey and if I have a billion dollars nobody is going to tell me no. (It’s called the perks of having Fuck You money)
  2. You can tell a lot about how serious a person is by how well they react to the unexpected, and nobody expects an eccentric weirdo billionaire with a monkey.

My interest is in cryptocurrency and blockchain and if I had a billion dollars, I’d be in the market for something long term. I want to turn my billion into three, or five, or fifty, so I’m looking for miners, primarily. It’s still too early for decentralized finance, non-fungible tokens (or digital pog) haven’t convinced me that they’re anything more than a fad, and the same goes for the metaverse (or digital Second Life).

NFT and the metaverse are good in theory, but will fizzle out but I’ll admit I could easily be wrong about this one. NFT and the metaverse have no functional utility and offer absolutely nothing to society by way of tangible benefit, but that doesn’t mean people won’t throw scads of money at them and make them live forever.  None of my billion, though.

Who’s a good monkey? YOU’RE A GOOD MONKEY!

Nobody said consumer decisions had to make sense and if there’s anything I’ve learned from watching human behaviour is you can never underestimate the effectiveness of a good narrative in convincing people to buy pointless shit they don’t need. If that happens, I’ll eat my FOMO and move on.

But it’s still too much of a gamble for me. Miners, though. As long as there’s money to be made in mining crypto—I’m there and so is my prospective billion.

There isn’t a lot of quantitative data to effectively differentiate one company from one another—there’s some, and when we get to breaking down my top three picks, we’ll discuss it—but there’s a point to the monkey beyond the fact that he looks cute in his top hat.

In this scenario, I’m Mr Bigshot Billions Investor Esq. If the CEO in question takes a look at me (and my monkey) with our fancy britches and lets us on the floor where he stores his ASIC rigs without saying anything for fear of offending me—well, he shouldn’t be surprised if I let Jocko do his thing. Suddenly he’s got a pre-pubescent, ill-trained capuchin monkey chasing his techs through the stacks, climbing all over the place, urinating in the off-take vents and doing his best Incredible Hulk impression, ripping out wires and screaming.

When said CEO inquires as to why I let a monkey loose, I’ll shrug. Monkeys are wild animals. What kind of judgement could you possibly have if you allow a wild animal loose in your operation?

Needless to say, I’m not likely going to put any money in that company. A company is only as good as the CEO that runs it.

If the CEO takes one look at me, the monkey, and says (respectfully) that he doesn’t give a shit who I am, and that he’s not going to let me take a wild animal onto his production floor—well, I’ll hand Jocko over to Elon, the sentient AI-driven robot servant I had commissioned to take care of my monkey, and said CEO will get a point in my books.

It can’t be stated enough, but with the lack of solid quantitative metrics, a company’s only as strong as the man (or woman) at the helm, and if they’re too much of a coward to potentially say no to big money for the security of their organization, then it suggests a lack of integrity.

Now let’s get into my top three (and why):

Hut 8 Mining (HUT.T)

Pertinent stats:

$1,871,631,000 market capitalization

PE Ratio (Price to Earnings) 27.34

Total bitcoin balance held in reserve is 5,242

Cash position: $223,225,032

Based out of Alberta, Canada, Hut 8 is one of the fastest growing Bitcoin miners in the world. Around since 2019, they have enhanced and expanded upon their Bitcoin mining operations to well over 1.94 exahashes per second, and as of November, that rounds out to 8.84 bitcoin per day. For context, Bitcoin is worth $51,001.69 at the time of writing, down from setting and resetting all-time high’s (ATH) earlier this year. The present ATH is $69,044.77—two months ago.

This time last year, this is one of the companies I felt were on the precipice, depending on Bitcoin’s fortunes. If Bitcoin tanked Hut 8 would go with it and if Bitcoin did well, so would Hut 8, and therein lay the gamble. As we know from 2021, Bitcoin most decidedly did not tank and as such, Hut 8 is ascendant.

It’s also worthwhile to note that Hut 8 is on top of all the trending items in cryptocurrency mining. I’m talking about green crypto, and other self-regulatory initiatives, intended to get out ahead of the government’s of 2022, when they start seriously regulating the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.

Now for the question we’ve all been waiting for:

Would they pass the monkey test?

Their CEO is Jaime Leverton. She brings more than two decides of leadership experience, including chief commercial officer for eStruxture Data Ceters, as well as companies like Cogeco Peer 1 (now Aptum), as well as National Bank, BlackBerry, Bell Canada and IBM Canada. She’s also on the boards of the Stratford Festival (which is badass – I love Stratford), Technation, and ComKids and serves as the Chair if IMWomen Canada.

And all of that tells me one thing—there’s no way in hell she’s letting me bring my monkey to tour the server rooms. We’d have a nice chat, maybe reminisce a bit about how much the festival has changed since the 90’s when I first saw it and the early 2010’s when last I attended, and then I’d send my monkey off with Elon.

Now how much money would I sink into Hut 8?

A PE Ratio of 27 is a tad expensive, but you don’t speculate with a company like Hut 8. The fact that they don’t offer a dividend at their price and size is another negative for me. If I’m looking at a company this size, I’m thinking portfolio addition over speculation.

I do like the way they’ve been growing this year, and their retraction seems in sync with Bitcoin. Again if Bitcoin does well next year so will Hut 8. There’s no built-in indication that it will – meaning, the halving is two years away and all growth and development in BTC will be qualitatively driven rather than quantitative.

But figuring I must absolutely spend all of this $1 billion in some kind of an improbable Brewster’s Millions scenario, then I’d throw in $150 million into this company right off and see what happens in 2024.

Hive Blockchain Technologies (HIVE.V)

Pertinent stats:

$1,528,602,000 market capitalization

Diversified coin holdings – Bitcoin, Ethereum

Total Held in Reserve: 1,584 bitcoin and 2,334 ethereum.

Cash position: A recent private placement bringing in $100.2 million on top of their $4.7 million from financials released early November.

Last year about this time I chose Hive to be the one to watch for 2022—mostly, as a hedge against Bitcoin’s reduction in fortunes. They had chosen to diversify their coin options and include Ethereum mining, which seemed like a solid bet should Bitcoin decide to go south, especially with the nascent decentralized finance on the horizon.

Well—Bitcoin didn’t decline and both coins actually did quite well. Throughout 2021, Hive continuing mining both coins quietly in the background while other companies were making big moves—buying large swaths of antminers from Bitmain or black boxes—and blowing up their hashrates. Meanwhile, Hive grew their Ethereum mining fleet and developed that way and I’m perfectly comfortable with that strategy—Hive is a long term play….

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If I had a billion dollars: Crypto and Monkey Business Edition