Riot Blockchain

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Riot Blockchain
Riot block logo.png
Founded 2017
Headquarters Castle Rock, Colorado
Key People Jeffrey G. McGonegal, CEO and interim CFO; Megan Brooks, vice president of finance; Karl Diab, lead blockchain engineer; Paul Pascual, head of mining operations
Products Bitcoin mining and investing
Twitter @RiotBlockchain
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook RiotBlockchain
Website Homepage
Releases Company News

Riot Blockchain is a bitcoin mining, cryptocurrency investment and technology development firm based in Castle Rock, Colorado, whose stock price appreciated sharply in 2017 after announcing a pivot from veterinary drugs and medical technology to blockchain.[1] Its shares are listed on Nasdaq.[2]

Company history

Riot Blockchain was formed in October 2017 when Bioptix, a biological sciences technology firm with one registered veterinary patent, changed its name to Riot Blockchain.[3] Bioptix went public in January 2003.[4]

The publicly traded company's stock price increased from $8 per share to $40 per share within months of the name change. Riot Blockchain was one of several companies subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for, among other things, including the term "blockchain" in its name absent a clear connection to the industry. In this case, the company was indeed changing focus but remained under SEC investigation for other issues. The company experienced considerable turmoil in its boardroom and among long term investors.[5]

On January 30, 2020 the company reported that the SEC's Division of Enforcement, having finished its investigation of Riot Blockchain, was not recommending any enforcement action against it.[6]

Cryptocurrency trading plans

In March 2018, Riot Blockchain revealed in documents filed with the SEC that it had purchased 92.5% of Logical Brokerage Corp, a registered futures commission broker, without disclosing the purchase price. At the time the company said that it was investigating launching a cryptocurrency exchange as well a cryptocurrency futures brokerage business. [7]

In a March 2019 filing of a Form S-3 to the SEC, the company described its Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, mining operation as well as its plans for a cryptocurrency exchange that was to include banking services, a trading engine, and digital wallet services, which were to be provided by third parties. The S-3 filing related to the resale of previously issued securities by Riot Blockchain. Statements in the filing indicate that the company plans to launch an exchange called RiotX in 2019.[8]

The company's second quarter 2020 financial statement filed with the SEC, however, does not include financial results from trading nor any information about an actual or prospective trading exchange, "RiotX."[9]

Business results

Riot Blockchain runs bitcoin mining operations and internal companies, as well as investing in DeFi startups.[10] Some of its most notable investments include Coinsquare, Tesspay, and Verady.[11]

Riot Blockchain's first quarter 2019 financial report filed with the SEC showed that the company continued to lose money but at a lower rate than in the year-ago period. In operations that roughly broke even, Riot Blockchain mined 329 bitcoins, 356 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and 1,422 Litecoins in the quarter. The company claims to be one of the largest publicly reporting cryptocurrency miners.[12]

Riot's second quarter 2020 financial statement filed as SEC Form Q-10 revealed continuing net losses of almost $!5 million in the first half of 2020, $162,000 less than for the comparable period in the previous year. Mining 508 bitcoins in the first half of the year, the company reported total revenues from mining of $4,280,000. Its other reported revenue of $48,000 came from licenses.[13] In an accompanying statement to the public, Riot Blockchain noted that it had shut down all of its Oklahoma City mining operations as of June 30.[14]

Pivot to bitcoin mining

In December 2019, Riot purchased 4,000 Antminer S19 Pro machines from Bitmain. In February 2020, the company purchased another 1,060.

Massena, New York, operation

In April 2020, Riot announced it would move some of its Antminer S17 mining machines from its facility in Oklahoma City to Coinmint's data center located in Massena, New York. Coinmint says that the data center is the largest cryptocurrency mining facility in the world.[15] Riot said that the move would save money on power due to Oklahoma City's heat, which caused cooling issues for the machines that necessitating large power draws.[16]

The company mined bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, but after its move to Massena it only mined bitcoin using its Antminer S17, S19 and S19 Pro mining machines, which are developed and sold by Bitmain.[17][18]

Whinstone acquisition

In a $651 million deal that includes $80 million of cash publicly traded Riot Blockchain will acquire Whinstone US from its German owner, Northern Bitcoin AG. As a result of the transaction, the company will take over Whinstone’s bitcoin mining facility in Rockdale, Texas, reported to be one of the largest in the U.S. Announced on April 8, 2021 the transactions was expected to settle later in the second quarter of 2021.[19]

Development of the Whinstone facilities was first announced in Fall 2019, when both Whinstone and Bitmain, the world's largest producer of application specific-integrated-circuits, announced they were developing separate new bitcoin farms in Rockdale, Texas. At the time Bitmain said it would launch operations shortly with a 25 megawatt operation that would grow eventually to 300 megawatts.[20] A few days after Bitmain's announcement, on November 1. the Dallas Morning News reported that Whinstone US Inc. would build "the world’s largest bitcoin Mining facility in Texas," also in Rockdale on 100 acres of the former Alcoa plant.[21] Whinstone US agreed to be acquired one week later, on November 7, by Northern Bitcoin AG. Northern Bitcoin is a bitcoin development and consulting company based in Frankfurt, Germany.[22]

Key People

  • Jeffrey G. McGonegal - CEO and interim CFO, starting August 2019
  • Megan Brooks - Vice President of Finance
  • Karl Diab - Lead Blockchain Engineer
  • Paul Pascual - Head of Mining Operations[23]

References

  1. Blockchain Technology is Disrupting the Future of Transactions. Riot Blockchain.
  2. Riot Blockchain Reports Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results, Recent Operational & Financial Highlights. PR Newswire.
  3. CNBC investigates public company that changed its name to Riot Blockchain and saw its shares rocket. CNBC.
  4. Riot Blockchain. Crunchbase.
  5. CNBC investigates public company that changed its name to Riot Blockchain and saw its shares rocket. CNBC.
  6. Riot Blockchain Announces Termination of SEC Investigation. Riot Blockchain.
  7. Riot Blockchain Acquires Futures Brokerage After Crypto Pivot. CoinDesk.
  8. Form S-3 Registration Statement Under the Securities Act of 1933. Edgar, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  9. Riot Blockchain Form Q-10. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  10. Blockchain Technology is Disrupting the Future of Transactions. Riot Blockchain.
  11. Targeted Investments. Riot Blockchain.
  12. Riot Blockchain Releases Q1/19 Financial Results. Yahoo Finance.
  13. Riot Blockchain Form Q-10. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  14. Riot Blockchain Reports Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results, Recent Operational & Financial Highlights. PR Newswire.
  15. Homepage. Coinmint.
  16. Riot Blockchain Moves Part of Bitcoin Mining Operation to Upstate New York. Coindesk.
  17. Targeted Investments. Riot Blockchain.
  18. Riot Blockchain Moves Part of Bitcoin Mining Operation to Upstate New York. Coindesk.
  19. Riot to Acquire Whinstone, Creating a US-Based Industry Leader in Bitcoin Mining. RIOT.
  20. Why Bitmain Is Building the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mine in Rural Texas. CoinDesk.
  21. Huge data center project in the works at former Alcoa site in Milam County. The Dallas News.
  22. 1 Gigawatt Bitcoin Mine Under Construction in Texas Would Dwarf Bitmain’s. CoinDesk.
  23. Management Team. Riot Blockchain.