Asian Mall Operator Taps Bitcoin Mining, NFTs to Boost Income
(Bloomberg) -- For a sense of the seemingly unstoppable spread of cryptocurrencies, consider the latest strategy of Malaysian mall and property developer Hatten Land Ltd.
The company, which trades on Singapore’s Catalist exchange, has a market cap of about S$112 million ($83 million). That figure was helped by a 140% gain on Sept. 16 after a multi-day trading halt, when it announced a deal with Singapore Myanmar Investco Ltd. to jointly explore business opportunities in crypto mining activities. Still, the stock is down almost 10% year-to-date.
A couple of weeks after the SMI announcement, Hatten Land said Frontier Digital Asset Management Pte. will install and operate at least 1,000 crypto mining machines at properties owned or managed by Hatten Land in the Malaysian state of Malacca. The rigs will mine Bitcoin initially, with alternative coins to be considered in the future, it said.
“The Hatten Group has sufficient capacity to host the new green cryptomining operations in our malls without eliminating the retail aspect,” Executive Chairman and Managing Director Colin Tan said in an email Thursday. The “operations will improve the utilization and in turn enhance the profitability of our malls.”
Hatten Land said it has combined built-up areas of more than six million square feet within its malls in Malacca. The mining operations with “transform Hatten’s assets into a hub for blockchain and other digital activities that will contribute to the growth and transformation” of the state, Tan said.
While some governments like China’s have been cracking down on crypto mining, and Malaysia itself has occasionally rapped some crypto operations -- such as allegations in July of illegal operations by crypto exchange Binance -- Hatten isn’t concerned about regulatory issues. The group has obtained legal opinion that cryptocurrency mining isn’t prohibited under Malaysian laws, and there are no reported cases of any other regulatory breach involving cryptocurrency mining other than electricity theft, Tan said.
On Thursday, Hatten issued another release saying that subsidiary Hatten Technology and Prakal Pte. -- known as EnjinStarter -- will create digital assets for Hatten Land, including a token system and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The collaboration will promote physical and digital tourism in Malacca as well as e-commerce activities, according to the statement.
Hatten isn’t the first company to pivot into crypto or blockchain. MicroStrategy Inc. is one of the most high-profile, moving from business intelligence software and consulting into a holder of a lot of Bitcoin. For a while in 2017 and 2018, companies were seeing their stocks pop if they added “Blockchain” to their name.
“Hatten Land is undertaking a strategic shift towards a sustainable and green digital economy,” Tan said in a separate email on Friday. It includes green crypto mining that will be enabled by solar energy as well as physical-digital activities that will involve tokens and non-fungible tokens and other digital initiatives, he said.
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