Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

v3.21.1
Commitments and Contingencies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2020
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and contingencies

Note 15. Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments:

Coinmint Co-location Mining Services Agreement

On April 8, 2020, the Company entered into an agreement with Coinmint, (the “Coinmint Agreement”), pursuant to which Coinmint agreed to provide up to approximately 9.5 MW of power and to perform all maintenance necessary to operate Riot’s miners at the Coinmint facility. In exchange, Coinmint is reimbursed for direct production expenses and receives a performance fee based on the net cryptocurrencies generated by Riot’s miners deployed at the Coinmint facility. The initial term of the Coinmint Agreement was six months with automatic renewals for subsequent three (3) month terms until and unless terminated as provided in the agreement.

The Company determined the agreement with Coinmint does not meet the definition of a lease in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 842, Leases.

Oklahoma Lease Agreement

On February 27, 2018, Kairos entered into a lease agreement (the “OKC Lease”) with 7725 Reno #1, LLC (“7725 Reno”), pursuant to which Kairos leased approximately 107,600 square foot warehouse located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Pursuant to the terms of the OKC Lease and subsequent amendments, the OKC Lease provided the following:

extended the initial term of the lease through June 30, 2020;

monthly base rent of $230,000 for January 2019 and $190,000 per month thereafter for the duration of the OKC Lease, including any renewals thereof; and

changes the monthly electricity usage charges.

On June 30, 2020 the OKC Lease expired under its terms. During the three months ended June 30, 2020, the Company had relocated its miners to the Coinmint facility and vacated the OKC facility. Subsequent to the expiration the Company received a full refund of its $0.7 million lease deposit, less applicable electricity charges on July 2, 2020.

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Index

Riot Blockchain, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

(in thousands, except for share and per share amounts)

 

Corporate Lease Agreement

On April 9, 2018, the Company entered into a commercial lease agreement (the “Florida Lease”) with W-Crocker Fin Place Owner VII, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, pursuant to which the Company leased approximately 1,700 rentable square feet of office and common area space in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pursuant to the terms of the Florida Lease, the initial term was for thirty-nine (39) months expiring on August 9, 2021. During May 2020, an agreement was reached to terminate the Florida Lease, and the Company expensed the termination payments for the Florida Lease.

Operating Leases

At December 31, 2020, he Company did not have any significant operating lease liabilities or right of use assets.

The following summarizes quantitative information about the Company’s operating leases:

Years Ended

Lease cost

December 31,

2020

December 31,

2019

Operating lease cost

$

1,240

$

2,378

Variable lease cost

1,040

3,200

Operating lease expense

2,280

5,578

Short-term lease rent expense

20

17

Total rent expense

$

2,300

$

5,595

 

Other information

Operating cash flows from operating leases

$

1,207

$

2,377

Right of use assets exchanged for new operating lease liabilities

$

-

$

2,664

Weighted-average remaining lease term – operating leases

-

0.5 years

Weighted-average discount rate – operating leases

N/A

10%

Rent expense including electric power costs, recorded on a straight-line basis, was approximately $2.3 million (up to the OKC lease termination as of June 30, 2020) and $5.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Contingencies

The Company, and its subsidiaries, are subject at times to various claims, lawsuits and governmental proceedings relating to the Company’s business and transactions arising in the ordinary course of business. The Company cannot predict the final outcome of such proceedings. Where appropriate, the Company vigorously defends such claims, lawsuits and proceedings. Some of these claims, lawsuits and proceedings seek damages, including, consequential, exemplary or punitive damages, in amounts that could, if awarded, be significant. Certain of the claims, lawsuits and proceedings arising in ordinary course of business are covered by the Company’s insurance program. The Company maintains property and various types of liability insurance in an effort to protect the Company from such claims. In terms of any matters where there is no insurance coverage available to the Company, or where coverage is available and the Company maintains a retention or deductible associated with such insurance, the Company may establish an accrual for such loss, retention or deductible based on current available information. In accordance with accounting guidance, if it is probable that an asset has been impaired or a liability has been incurred as of the date of the financial statements, and the amount of loss is reasonably estimable, then an accrual for the cost to resolve or settle these claims is recorded by the Company in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. If it is reasonably possible that an asset may be impaired as of the date of the financial statement, then the Company discloses the range of possible loss. Expenses related to the defense of such claims are recorded by the Company as incurred and included in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations. Management, with the assistance of outside counsel, may from time to time adjust such accruals according to new developments in the matter, court rulings, or changes in the strategy affecting the Company’s defense of such matters. On the basis of current information, the Company does not believe there is a reasonable possibility that, other than with regard to the Class Action described below, any material loss, if any, will result from any claims, lawsuits and proceedings to which the Company is subject to either individually, or in the aggregate.

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Riot Blockchain, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

(in thousands, except for share and per share amounts)

 

Shareholder Class Action Suit

On February 17, 2018, Creighton Takata filed an action asserting putative class action claims on behalf of the Company’s stockholders in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey, Takata v. Riot Blockchain Inc., et al., Case No. 3: 18-cv-02293. The complaint asserts violations of federal securities laws under Section 10(b) and Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on behalf of a putative class of stockholders that purchased stock from November 13, 2017 through February 15, 2018. The complaint alleges that the Company and certain of its officers and directors made, caused to be made, or failed to correct false and/or misleading statements in press releases and public filings regarding its business plan in connection with its cryptocurrency business. The complaint requests damages in unspecified amounts, costs and fees of bringing the action, and other unspecified relief.

On April 18, 2018, Joseph J. Klapper, Jr., filed a complaint against Riot Blockchain, Inc., and certain of its officers and directors in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey (Klapper v. Riot Blockchain Inc., et al., Case No. 3: 18-cv-8031). The complaint contained substantially similar allegations and the same claims as those filed by Mr. Takata, and requests damages in unspecified amounts, costs and fees of bringing the action, and other unspecified relief. On November 6, 2018, the court in the Takata action issued an order consolidating Takata with Klapper into a single putative class action. The court also appointed Dr. Golovac as Lead Plaintiff and Motely Rice as Lead Counsel of the consolidated class action.

Lead Plaintiff filed a consolidated complaint on January 15, 2019. Defendants filed motions to dismiss on March 18, 2019. In lieu of opposing defendants’ motions to dismiss, Lead Plaintiff filed another amended complaint on May 9, 2019. Defendants filed multiple motions to dismiss the amended complaint starting on September 3, 2019.

On April 30, 2020, the court granted the motions to dismiss, which resulted in the dismissal of all claims without prejudice. On December 24, 2020, Lead Plaintiff filed another amended complaint. Defendants filed multiple motions to dismiss the amended complaint starting on February 8, 2021. Because this litigation is still at this early stage, we cannot reasonably estimate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or the magnitude of such an outcome, if any.

Shareholder Derivative Cases

On April 5, 2018, Michael Jackson filed a shareholder derivative complaint on behalf of the Company in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau, against certain of the Company’s officers and directors, as well as against an investor (Jackson v. Riot Blockchain, Inc., et al., Case No. 604520/18). The complaint contains similar allegations to those contained in the shareholder class action complaints and seeks recovery for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, waste of corporate assets, abuse of control and gross mismanagement. The complaint seeks unspecified monetary damages and corporate governance changes. At the last preliminary conference, the court adjourned the conference until August 10, 2021 in lieu of staying the action. Defendants do not anticipate any other activity on this case until the next preliminary conference.

On May 22, 2018, two additional shareholder derivative complaints were filed on behalf of the Company in the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Clark (Kish v. O’Rourke, et al., Case No. A-18-774890-B & Gaft v. O’Rourke, et al., Case No. A-18-774896-8). The two complaints make identical allegations, which are similar to the allegations contained in the shareholder class action complaints. The shareholder derivative plaintiffs also seek recovery for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, waste of corporate assets, and aiding abetting a breach of fiduciary duty. The complaints seek unspecific monetary damages and corporate governance changes.

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Index

Riot Blockchain, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

(in thousands, except for share and per share amounts)

 

On September 24, 2018, the court entered an order consolidating the Gaft and Kish actions, which is now styled as In re Riot BlockChain, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Case No. A-18-774890-B. The plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint on March 15, 2019. The consolidated action has been temporarily stayed until the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey.

On October 9, 2018, another shareholder derivative complaint was filed on behalf of the Company in the United District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Rotkowitz v. O’Rourke, et al., Case No. 2:18-cv-05632). As with the other shareholder derivative actions, the shareholder plaintiff alleges breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, and unjust enrichment against certain of the Company’s officers, directors, and an investor. The complaint’s allegations are substantially similar to those made in the other securities class action and shareholder derivative complaints filed in 2018. The complaint seeks unspecific monetary damages and corporate governance changes. The parties filed a motion with the court to temporarily stay this action until the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey. In response, the court dismissed the action without prejudice with leave to refile a complaint following the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey.

On October 22, 2018, another shareholder derivative complaint was filed on behalf of the Company in the United District Court for the Southern District of New York (Finitz v. O’Rourke, et al., Case No. 1:18-cv-09640). The shareholder plaintiffs allege breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, and unjust enrichment against certain of the Company’s officers, directors, and an investor. The complaint’s allegations are substantially similar to those made in the other securities class action and shareholder derivative complaints filed in 2018. The complaint seeks unspecific monetary damages and corporate governance changes. Upon the parties’ stipulation, the court issued an order temporarily staying this action until the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey.

On December 13, 2018, another shareholder derivative complaint was filed on behalf of the Company in the United District Court for the Northern District of New York (Monts v. O’Rourke, et al., Case No. 1:18-cv-01443). The shareholder plaintiffs allege claims for violation of Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, waste of corporate assets, and aiding and abetting against certain of the Company’s officers, directors, and an investor. The complaint’s allegations are substantially similar to those made in the other securities class action and shareholder derivative complaints filed in 2018. The complaint seeks unspecific monetary damages and corporate governance changes. Upon the parties’ stipulation, the court issued an order temporarily staying this action until the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Defendants intend to vigorously contest plaintiffs’ allegations in the shareholder derivative actions and plaintiffs’ right to bring the action in the name of Riot Blockchain. But because this litigation is still at this early stage, we cannot reasonably estimate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or the magnitude of such an outcome, if any.

Indemnification Demands

On April 3, 2020, a complaint was filed against Riot Blockchain by Barry C. Honig and GRQ Consultants, Inc. (“GRQ”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Honig v. Riot Blockchain, Inc., Case No. 20-cv-02808-NRB. Mr. Honig and GRQ allege that Riot has failed to indemnify them pursuant to terms of the Securities Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) and Registration Rights Agreement (“RRA”), both dated March 16, 2017. Mr. Honig and GRQ allege declaratory judgment and breach of contract claims, seeking fees and expenses they incurred in connection with litigation and a SEC investigation involving Riot. On July 9, 2020, Riot filed a motion to dismiss both of the claims. On November 20, 2020, the Court granted Riot Blockchain’s motion to dismiss all claims and awarded Riot Blockchain attorneys’ fees as the prevailing party.

In addition to the suit filed by Mr. Honig and GRQ, other purported parties and beneficiaries of the SPA and RRA have also recently demanded indemnification from Riot Blockchain related to the same litigation and SEC investigation. For the reasons set forth in the Court’s order dismissing Mr. Honig’s and GRQ’s indemnification claims, Riot Blockchain believes that it does not owe an indemnification obligation to the other purported parties and beneficiaries of the SPA and RRA that have made an indemnification demand. Riot Blockchain intends to vigorously contest similar demands for indemnification.

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Index

Riot Blockchain, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

(in thousands, except for share and per share amounts)

 

Kashwise Demand

On February 18, 2020, the Company received a demand letter from Kashwise Global Funding, Inc. (“Kashwise”) for the payment of fees pursuant to an alleged arrangement between the Company and Kashwise in connection with the January 2019 private exempt offering of the Company’s securities to a group of accredited investors (the “Kashwise Demand”). The Company timely responded to the Kashwise Demand; however, on April 13, 2020, Kashwise Global Funding Solutions, Inc. filed suit against the Company in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida (the “Kashwise Suit”) alleging substantially similar claims as in the Kashwise Demand. The Company has removed the Kashwise Suit to Federal District Court in and for the Southern District of Florida where it remains pending with a scheduled trial date (if not delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic) in June of 2021. The Company continues to vigorously dispute the allegations made in the Kashwise Suit. However, the Company cannot reasonably estimate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or the magnitude of such an outcome, if any.

SEC Subpoena and Other Matters

SEC Subpoena

On April 9, 2018, the Company received a subpoena from the SEC, requesting documents and information. The Company fully cooperated with the SEC in that investigation. On January 29, 2020, the SEC notified the Company that it had concluded its investigation as to Riot, and based on the information the SEC had as of the date of the letter, it did not intend to recommend an enforcement action against Riot.

Registration Rights Penalty

During December 2017, the Company closed on the sale of approximately $37 million of units comprised of 1,646,113 shares of its common stock and warrants to purchase up to 1,646,113 shares of its common stock (the “Units”) in a private exempt offering (the “December 2017 Private Placement”) to certain accredited investors (the “December 2017 Investors”), as previously disclosed by the Company on its Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on December 19, 2017. In connection with the December 2017 Private Placement, the Company entered into registration rights agreements (the “December 2017 Registration Rights Agreements”) with the December 2017 Investors, pursuant to which the Company agreed to take certain steps to register the shares underlying the Units. The Company accounted for the December 2017 Registration Rights Agreements in accordance with ASC 825-20, “Registration Payment Arrangements.” ASC 825-20 addresses an issuer’s accounting for registration payment arrangements and, in accordance with ASC 450-20 “Loss Contingencies,” the Company recorded approximately $1,358,000 for this contingent liability in 2018.

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Index

Riot Blockchain, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

(in thousands, except for share and per share amounts)

 

On January 5, 2018, pursuant to December 2017 Registration Rights Agreements, the Company filed a registration statement on Form S-3 to register the shares underlying the Units.

Subsequently, in April 2018, the Company received a subpoena from the SEC as part of an investigation, requesting documents and information. In July 2018, the SEC issued an Order Directing Examination and Designating Officers Pursuant to Section 8(e) of the Securities Act with respect to certain of the Company’s registration statements, including the registration statement on Form S-3 it filed pursuant to the December 2017 Registration Rights Agreements. On October 12, 2018, the Company filed for withdrawal of this registration statement on Form S-3, as well as other of its registration statements. On October 22, 2018, the Company was notified by SEC staff that the SEC had terminated the Section 8(e) examination with respect to the above-referenced registration statements. On January 29, 2020, the SEC notified the Company that it had concluded its investigation as to Riot, and based on the information the SEC had as of the date of the letter, it did not intend to recommend an enforcement action against Riot.

Following the conclusion of the SEC’s activities as described above, the Company has evaluated its performance of its obligations under the December 2017 Registration Rights Agreements and has determined that it substantially complied with its requirements, and that its ultimate inability to cause the registration of the shares underlying the Units as required by the December 2017 Registration Rights Agreements was due to actions taken by the SEC. The Company has therefore determined to reverse the accrual pursuant to ASC 450-20 related to the December 2017 Registration Rights Agreements for its 2020 consolidated financial statements.