A bitcoin mining company is laying the groundwork for Europe’s biggest cryptocurrency float after seeking advice on a listing in the next 12 months.

Bitfury Group is understood to have tapped Deloitte to review its readiness for going public, with a likely price tag in the billions of pounds.

The digital currency company – which has its main headquarters in the Netherlands but is legally based in the UK – was valued at around $1bn (£730m) in its last fundraising round, company filings show, but would be seeking a much higher valuation in any float.

The company’s investors include Mike Novogratz’s fund Galaxy Digital and Australian investment bank Macquarie, and its total revenues were $145m in 2019.

An initial public offering of Bitfury stock would represent the biggest ever listing for a European cryptocurrency company. It comes after the float of US cryptocurrency trading app Coinbase, which is currently valued at over $50bn.

With the majority of its operations in Amsterdam and a base in the UK, Bitfury is thought to be considering a float in the City or on Euronext in Amsterdam.

It also spun off a division, Cipher Mining, through a special purpose acquisition (Spac) deal over the summer. Cipher is now listed on the US Nasdaq exchange with a value of $2bn and Bitfury is a minority shareholder.

Founded in 2011 by Latvian entrepreneur Valery, Bitfury deploys cryptocurrency mining hardware used to crunch the sums needed to mint new Bitcoin. It has cryptocurrency mining operations in Canada, Norway, Iceland and Central Asia.

It also supplies mini data centres, set up in shipping containers, that can be deployed by customers to mine digital coins.

Bitcoin mining is needed to run the digital coin’s network and keep it secure. It requires huge computing resources, and “miners” that contribute power are rewarded with a share of coins. 

This process sucks up vast amounts of energy – around 91 terawatt-hours per year, or more than used by Finland, according to some estimates, making it highly controversial at a time when countries around the world are fighting to rein in their use of fossil fuels.

Bitcoin energy consumption compared

The digital currency’s price now stands at a five month high, trading at around $54,000 per coin, although this is still below the $60,000 it reached in April. Despite falling back slightly, the value of Bitcoin remains up 350pc on this time last year.

Bitfury would not be the only European Bitcoin mining company to hit public markets. Argo Blockchain is listed on the Aim exchange. Its shares are up more than 2,000pc over the last year on the rush from investors to find listed cryptocurrency companies.

Bitfury did not respond to requests for comment. Deloitte declined to comment.