A former biotech company shifted its focus to become a strategic investor in the blockchain sector and is now diving into the bitcoin mining business.
Biotech company Bioptix became Colorado’s top performing stock in 2017, with a 639.6 percent gain, after changing its name to Riot Blockchain.
The name wasn’t the only thing that got changed. The company shifted its focus to become “a strategic investor and operator in the blockchain sector”.
The Castle Rock company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire cryptocurrency mining equipment consisting of 3,800 Antminer S9 bitcoin miners manufactured by Bitmain.
Following shipment and setup, Riot will own 5,000 ASIC cryptocurrency miners in total, having bought 700 Antminer S9 and 500 Antminer L3 in November, 2017.
Upon full deployment, Riot Blockchain “expects its total hashing power to be over 60 Petahash of SHA-256 Bitcoin mining computing power and 252 Gigahash of Scrypt for Litecoin mining”, according to a press release.
“Cryptocurrency mining will be a focal point moving forward, gaining us leveraged exposure to bitcoin and other digital currencies while we help secure blockchains,” Riot Blockchain CEO John O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke raised red flags among investors in December, when he unloaded 30,383 shares for about $869,000, once the stock hit a high. O’Rourke later explained that he sold less than 10 percent of his overall position, and that he only cashed in to pay taxes.
However, recent actions have flashed more possible warning signals. Riot has recently dismissed its auditor and postponed its annual shareholders meeting for a second time.
The company’s past is full of upheavals. Founded in August 2000 as a biotech startup called AspenBio, it rebranded into AspenBio Pharma, in 2005, changed its name to Venaxis, in 2012, and Bioptix, in 2016, only to change it again to Riot Blockchain, last year. Under different names, business models and management, the company has never been profitable. For the first nine months of 2017, it posted a loss of $11 million on sales of $72,524.
At press time, with a potential hash power in excess of 60 Ph/s, Riot’s bitcoin mining operation is expected to generate roughly $1.5 million in monthly revenue.