Since the Great Recession ended in 2009, growth stocks have been virtually unstoppable. The combination of historically low lending rates and an accommodative central bank has rolled out the red carpet for fast-paced businesses to borrow at attractive rates.
But for some companies, their hypergrowth period is just getting started. Based on Wall Street’s consensus sales estimates, the following supercharged growth stocks are expected to see their sales rise 21,551% to as much as 948,737% by 2023.
Marathon Digital Holdings: 21,551% implied sales growth by 2023
Easily one of the fastest-growing stocks on the planet over the next three years is cryptocurrency mining company Marathon Digital Holdings (NASDAQ:MARA). Marathon reported $4.36 million in sales last year, but is projected by Wall Street to generate $944 million in full-year sales in 2023. That’s your run-of-the-mill 21,551% increase in sales in just three years, if Wall Street’s estimates prove accurate.
Cryptocurrency miners are people or businesses using high-powered computers to solve complex mathematical equations that validate groups of transactions (known as a block) on a blockchain as true. Being the first to validate a block on a proof-of-work blockchain network results in the miner receiving a reward. In Marathon’s case, it’s specifically targeting the largest cryptocurrency in the world, Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC), which pays out 6.25 bitcoin per block reward. This means each block reward is worth close to $380,000.
Marathon Digital’s hypergrowth is the result of the company quickly growing its miner farm. In this instance, the more miners at work, the greater the likelihood of Marathon beating other miners to the punch and earning Bitcoin block rewards. When October began, the company had 25,272 active miners. But based on the company’s existing orders, it has more than 107,000 additional miners on the way. When fully deployed, Marathon will have 133,120 miners up and running by mid-2022.
While this might sound like a no-brainer way to play the cryptocurrency/Bitcoin buzz, crypto mining stocks might be the absolute worst choice for your investment dollars.
To begin with, Bitcoin’s block rewards halve every four years, and the barrier to entry for cryptocurrency mining is pretty much nonexistent. This means Marathon’s competition will continue to increase as the long-term block reward profile for Bitcoin declines.
What’s more, Marathon Digital Holdings is entirely reliant on external factors for its growth, rather than innovation. It needs the hype and use case for Bitcoin to grow, otherwise its block rewards and balance sheet, which is held in Bitcoin, will shrink. As a reminder, Bitcoin has undergone three separate retracements of at least 80% over the past decade.
If investors want to ride on Bitcoin’s coattails, buying Marathon Digital isn’t the way to do it.
Nikola: 788,321% implied sales growth by 2023
Another hypergrowth stock expected to deliver a jaw-dropping sales increase by the end of 2023 is electric vehicle (EV) and fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) manufacturer Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA). Last year, Nikola recognized only $95,000 in total sales. But by the time 2023 rolls around, Wall Street expects the green-energy automaker to produce $749 million in sales. That’s an increase of more than 788,000%!
The opportunity on Nikola’s doorstep is massive. Virtually all developed markets are focusing on ways to fight climate change, and replacing fossil fuel-burning vehicles with EVs and other alternative energy-powered vehicles is one of the easiest ways to reduce long-term carbon emissions. This consumer and enterprise vehicle replacement cycle could take decades to complete, meaning there’s room for a dozen or more major automakers to thrive in developed and emerging markets.
Over just the past three weeks, Nikola has secured two agreements. On Oct. 7, it and TC Energy announced a collaboration to develop large-scale hydrogen hubs for hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty trucks. Exactly one week later, Nikola announced a collaboration with PGT Trucking. This collaboration includes a letter of intent for 100 Nikola Tre heavy-duty FCEVs.
While it’s great to see Nikola fielding orders and collaborations, the company is a long way from shaking off the gray clouds hovering over it. Last year, short-selling firm Hindenburg Research alleged Nikola was a fraud. While an independent review found that many of Hindenburg’s statements weren’t accurate, some claims about Nikola’s pre-sells were shown to be true. This admission, along with a Securities and Exchange Commission probe, has cost investors’ trust in management.
To make matters worse, it’s pretty clear that Nikola doesn’t have anywhere near enough capital to adequately ramp up production and build up its brand. This need for capital is likely to weigh on shareholders for the foreseeable future.
Ocugen: 948,737% implied sales growth by 2023
However, the kingpin of supercharged growth on this list is clinical-stage biotech stock Ocugen (NASDAQ:OCGN). Sales for the company totaled a mere $43,000 in 2020. By the end of 2023, Wall Street will be looking for $408 million in revenue. That’s nearing a 950,000% increase in just three years.
This hyperbolic sales growth for Ocugen is expected to come on the back of Covaxin, an as-of-now experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Covaxin was developed by India’s Bharat Biotech, with Ocugen holding co-commercialization rights in the U.S. and Canada. In a large-scale clinical study in India, Covaxin demonstrated a nearly 78% vaccine efficacy (VE). While not on par with the top-notch initial VE’s from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech in the U.S., a 78% VE would seemingly be strong enough to gain momentum in emerging markets where billions of vaccines still need to be administered.
The mutability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has also worked in Ocugen’s favor. The idea here being that different strains of the disease could coerce the need for booster shots and/or additional vaccine purchases.
But there’s a very serious flaw in the Ocugen bull thesis: the aforementioned co-commercialization rights being tied to only the U.S. and Canada. It really doesn’t matter if Bharat Biotech is successful or fails to gain emergency-use approval in any other countries worldwide, because it won’t influence U.S. or Canadian regulators to approve Covaxin any faster.
To boot, the U.S. and Canada invested heavily in their respective vaccine stockpiles over the past year and likely have no need for another vaccine that’s failed to stand out. That’s bad news for Ocugen and its hopes to generate meaningful revenue anytime soon.
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.