Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Organization and Operation of Our Business

Organization and Operation of Our Business
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2021
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Organization and Operation of Our Business

Note 1. Organization and Operation of Our Business

Nature of Operations:

Riot Blockchain, Inc. operates a cryptocurrency mining operation using specialized computers equipped with application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips (known as “miners”) to solve complex cryptographic algorithms in support of the Bitcoin blockchain (in a process known as “solving a block”) in exchange for cryptocurrency rewards (primarily Bitcoin). The Company has also historically mined Bitcoin cash and litecoin; however, the Company has focused its efforts on mining Bitcoin.

The Company participates in “mining pools” organized by “mining pool operators” in which we share our mining power (known as “hashrate”) with the hashrate generated by other miners participating in the pool to earn cryptocurrency rewards. The mining pool operator provides a service that coordinates the computing power of the independent mining enterprises participating in the mining pool. Fees are paid to the mining pool operator to cover the costs of maintaining the pool. The pool uses software that coordinates the pool members’ mining power, identifies new block rewards, records how much hashrate each participant contributes to the pool, and assigns cryptocurrency rewards earned by the pool among its participants in proportion to the hashrate each participant contributed to the pool in connection with solving a block.

The Company generates substantially all its revenue through its cryptocurrency mining operation by holding the cryptocurrency it mines and selling it on the market for its own account.

Mining Equipment:

Generally speaking, miners with greater hashing power relative to other miners attempting to solve a block have a higher chance of solving the block and receiving a cryptocurrency award. Further, as the market price for Bitcoin has increased, we have observed that the relative number of miners and the total hashing power deployed on the Bitcoin blockchain has also increased. Accordingly, we seek to increase our hashing power capacity relative to the total hashing power devoted to the Bitcoin blockchain by acquiring and deploying increasing numbers of the latest generation of more powerful and energy-efficient miners.

As of March 31, 2021, the Company exclusively operated the Antminer series of miners manufactured by Bitmain Technologies Limited (“Bitmain”), which use ASIC chips designed around the 256-bit secure hashing algorithm (SHA-256) used by the Bitcoin blockchain and, therefore, the primary cryptocurrency the Company seeks to mine is Bitcoin.

During the three months ended March 31, 2021, the Company continued to expand its quantity of miners with the objective of increasing the Company’s operational efficiency and performance.

During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company entered into purchase agreements to acquire 33,646 Antminers from Bitmain, including 12,000 model S19j-Pro miners, 20,606 model S19-Pro miners and 1,040 model S19 miners. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had received and deployed 7,043 total miners at the Company’s mining operation pursuant to a co-location mining services agreement with Coinmint, LLC (“Coinmint”) at Coinmint’s facility in New York (the “Coinmint Facility”), including 4,000 model S17-Pro miners purchased from Bitmain in 2019, as well as 3,043 of the miners purchased from Bitmain in 2020.

During the three months ended March 31, 2021, the Company received 6,703 additional Antminer model S19-Pro miners related to its 2020 purchase agreements with Bitmain and, as of March 31, 2021, had deployed a total of 13,746 miners in its mining operation.

During 2021 the Company entered into two additional purchase agreements with Bitmain to acquire 43,500 Antminer model S19j (90 Terahash per second) (“TH/s”) miners, for a total purchase price of approximately $145.7 million. Pursuant to these agreements, approximately $32.6 million of the total purchase price was initially paid by the Company to Bitmain as refundable deposits, with the remainder payable in installments in advance of shipment of the miners, which is scheduled to occur on a monthly basis between October 2021 and October 2022.