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Core Scientific Inc., a top crypto miner, sold the bulk of its Bitcoin holdings in June as a steep drop in digital assets squeezes finances for even the leaders of the industry.

Core Scientific sold 7,202 mined coins for $167 million last month, leading to a 79% drop in Bitcoin holdings on its balance sheet, according to the company’s monthly update. The Austin, Texas-based company now holds 1,959 coins. 

Founded in 2017, Core Scientific is one of the largest Bitcoin miners in the world with 180,000 servers and nearly 10% of the current computing power that secures the entire Bitcoin blockchain network as of June 30, according to the latest public filing.

Crypto miners are struggling to repay debt and complete large purchase orders of expensive mining machines they made during the bull run several months ago. Operational costs have exceeded mining revenue for some miners as Bitcoin had its worst quarter in more than a decade. High-profile crypto blowups are battering the industry, helping contribute to declines in the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, which fell below $20,000 last month for the first time since 2020.

Bitcoin miners needing to sell could weigh on the token’s price for some time, JPMorgan Chase & Co said last month in a note. Bitcoin miners have been forced to tap into their cryptocurrency stashes as a plunge in prices, rising energy costs and increased competition bite into profitability.

The number of coins miners are sending to crypto exchanges has been steadily climbing. Several publicly listed bitcoin miners collectively sold more than 100% of their entire output in May as the value of bitcoin tumbled 45%, an analysis by Arcane Research.

Cryptocurrencies have suffered this year amid Federal Reserve rate hikes and stubbornly high inflation. The collapse of the Terra/Luna ecosystem and continued concern about hedge fund Three Arrows Capital Ltd. have further rattled investors.

Bitcoin miners, who run networks of computers to earn tokens by validating transactions on the blockchain, are typically staunch crypto "HODLers" and collectively own around 800,000 bitcoins, according to CoinMetrics data.

Public mining companies often hold the vast majority of their mined Bitcoin to serve as a proxy in the stock market drawing investors that want to get cryptocurrency exposure while not holding the tokens directly. Some firms believe large Bitcoin holdings will boost their balance sheet in the long run as the token appreciates in value over time.

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