What happened

Shares of Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) gained 59.3% in March 2021, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The cryptocurrency mining company saw Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) prices rise 27% over the same period. Like other mining specialists, Marathon tends to amplify the price trends of their underlying cryptocurrency tokens, and that was the case for Marathon in March.

So what

Marathon's March gains weren't all about pure Bitcoin price gains. Near the end of the month, Marathon announced a North American Bitcoin mining pool that aims to distribute mining rewards among its own cryptocurrency mining systems and a larger group of third-party miners. This pool will comply with U.S. cryptocurrency regulations, accepting new miners in June 2021. Marathon's stock rose 10% on this news alone even though the Bitcoin market was relatively sleepy that day.

A person about to insert a Bitcoin token into a golden piggy bank.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The company also provided a Bitcoin mining update in early April. The Bitcoin mining capacity more than doubled from January to March. Marathon's total Bitcoin holdings were worth $302 million at the end of March. Another 10,300 mining systems were installed during the first quarter, lifting Marathon's total mining fleet to 12,900 systems. Management expects to have 103,000 systems operational by the end of March 2022. Investors are betting on this skyrocketing mining capacity to generate substantial revenues and profits over time.

It remains to be seen exactly how stable Bitcoin prices might be over the next year and beyond, but Marathon is betting the proverbial farm on economically viable mining returns. It's an exciting strategy, but many of us ordinary investors are opting for calmer and less risky bets on the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin itself arguably falls in that category.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.