Riot Blockchain is to shut down its crypto exchange and renew
its focus on mining, citing various risks.
The company issued an update on its ‘strategic priorities’,
with the action of sunsetting the RiotX Exchange taken after assessing, in the
company’s words, “the evolving regulatory environment, cybersecurity risks, and
the current competitive landscape facing US-based cryptocurrency exchanges.”
The greater move to mining has been coming, with Riot
recently upgrading its Oklahoma City mining facility, as well as purchasing
4,000 S17 miners from crypto mining product vendor Bitmain at the end of last
year. “Going forward, Riot reinforces its confidence in Bitcoin by focusing on
Bitcoin mining and pursuing opportunities more directly related to Bitcoin
mining,” the company wrote.
This confidence can be seen in the company also engaging the
services of XMS Capital Partners to, as the company puts it, ‘navigate the
dynamic Bitcoin landscape’. XMS will be employed to assess on potential strategic
transactions related to mining, although the company did not disclose further.
This move is by no means the only about-face Riot has
performed – even with regards to its entry into the blockchain space. In late
2017 the company changed its name to Riot Blockchain having previously traded
as Bioptix, focusing on biotech, while in September 2018 CEO John O’Rourke departed
after allegations of a pump and dump scheme to the tune of an estimated $27
million leaving investors with ‘virtually worthless’ stock. O’Rourke was to
later settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Unlike other moniker-meddlers of its ilk, such as the infamous Long Blockchain Corp, Riot was – eventually – cleared of impropriety by the SEC, receiving notification that the investigation had been terminated last month. Long Blockchain, meanwhile, announced last week it was scrapping a proposed merger with subsidiary Stran.
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