Former biotech company Riot Blockchain has announced that it may launch a cryptocurrency exchange and futures brokerage platform.
In a public filing dated March 27, the former biotech firm said that it “intends to investigate launching a digital currency exchange and a futures brokerage operation” in the US.
Toward this end, Riot Blockchain acquired Logical Brokerage Corp., a Miami-based futures broker that is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and a member of the National Futures Association (NFA), an industry trade group.
Known as Bioptix Inc. until last October, Riot Blockchain was among the first of a litany of little-known firms to gain widespread notoriety by making unexpected — and often dubious — pivots into the burgeoning cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem during last year’s dramatic fourth-quarter rally.
Riot Blockchain shares soared after the re-brand, peaking at a high of $38.60 on Dec. 19 after trading below $4.50 prior to its blockchain pivot. However, the firm’s share price has subsequently crashed — though not quite back to its pre-pivot level — and as of the time of writing it was priced at just $6.10.
Presumably, Riot Blockchain’s proposed platform would facilitate trades of Bitcoin futures, which launched on two regulated US exchanges in December but have been met with hostility at some brokerage firms.
However, it’s important to stress that the firm’s cryptocurrency exchange plans are preliminary at best, and it would not be surprising to see them shelved in the future — particularly if cryptocurrency prices remain in bear territory.
Long Blockchain — an iced tea maker who made its own curious foray into cryptocurrency investing shortly after Riot Blockchain — recently canceled much-hyped plans to purchase 1,000 Bitcoin mining rigs and set up a mining operation in Iceland.
That said, Riot Blockchain has made tangible moves into the cryptocurrency space. It has already established a cryptocurrency mining operation, though it is unclear how much revenue it is generating. Additionally, the firm purchased 500 BTC in a January auction held by the US Marshals Service, and CEO John O’Rourke has said that he expects the Bitcoin price to clip $50,000 by 2019.
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