Bitcoin miner Cipher to go public via $2 billion SPAC merger

(Reuters) - Cipher Mining Inc said it had agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Good Works Acquisition Corp in a deal valuing it at $2 billion, underscoring the rising interest in the bitcoin space.

FILE PHOTO: A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Shares of Good Works rose 15.9% to $11.59 after markets opened for trading on Friday.

The bitcoin mining firm’s bid to go public comes as a clutch of other crypto firms are pushing ahead with similar plans despite regulatory uncertainty.

Coinbase, the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, moved a step closer to listing its shares on the Nasdaq last month, but is still waiting for regulatory clearances.

The unregulated nature of digital coins has traditionally made investors distinctly wary of institutions that deal in them. Experts believe successful stock market launches from the likes of Coinbase would help change that perception.

Additionally, a decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on whether to approve crypto listings would serve as a major win or blow to the legitimacy of digital coins.

“I do see a future where the SEC will continue to analyze and hopefully embrace bitcoin in particular. All of crypto is a much bigger question,” Cipher Mining Chief Executive Officer Tyler Page told Reuters.

In January, cryptocurrency platform Bakkt also agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm.

“We wanted to get to market quickly and efficiently and after evaluating different paths, the SPAC market allowed us to get to market the quickest,” Page said, when asked why the firm chose the SPAC route.

The deal with Good Works will provide the merged entity with gross cash proceeds of $595 million, which includes $425 million from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company and Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

Reporting by Sohini Podder and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Anirban Sen