Biotech firm-turned-Bitcoin miner Riot Blockchain disclosed strong results for Q1 2020 in its latest quarterly report filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Published May 8, the report revealed the firm’s cryptocurrency mining revenue for the three months ending March 31, 2020 (Q1 2020) had hit $2.4 million — up from $1.4 million for Q1 in 2019. This represents a 70% increase in year-on-year revenue.

Riot revealed that it had not, however, mined more cryptocurrency, stating that “Bitcoins produced in 2020 totaled 280 as compared to 330 in the 2019 period.” 

Instead, the firm attributed the major increase in revenue to higher Bitcoin (BTC) values during the 2020 period, noting that prices averaged $8,287 per Bitcoin in Q1 2020 as compared with $3,791 per Bitcoin in Q1 2019.

Meanwhile, costs have remained stable year-on-year ($1.4 million and $1.5 million in Q1 2020 and Q1 2019 respectively), primarily consisting of direct production costs for mining operations including rent and utilities. 

Riot nonetheless reported higher depreciation expenses for its recently acquired mining hardware — an estimated increase of roughly $0.6 million as compared with Q1 2019.

Riot pays less in lawyer fees

Selling, general and administrative expenses over the recent quarter have increased by 18% as compared to the same period in 2019, yet legal fees have decreased by $0.3 million. 

This, as Riot notes, is due to the firm no longer having to pay out in litigation fees related to SEC investigation matters. 

As reported, the SEC had launched an investigation into the firm due to Riot Blockchain’s rebranding to include blockchain in its name at the peak of the crypto industry hype, coinciding with the firm’s shift in focus from biotechnology to cryptocurrency mining.

The commission had previously indicated that firms that had changed their name to include blockchain would be subject to increased scrutiny due to suspicions they were capitalizing on the hype to inflate share prices. 

In February of this year, the SEC concluded its investigation into Riot Blockchain, without recommending any enforcement action. 

That same month, Riot Blockchian decided to suspend further development and sell its planned U.S.-based digital currency exchange, RiotX, in order to concentrate on mining operations ahead of this month’s Bitcoin halving.

The wider sector

Other miners to have reported bullish results for mining operations this year, including London Stock Exchange-listed Argo Blockchain, whose strong performance has not, in contrast to Riot, been reflected in a revenue increase but rather in mining greater volumes of Bitcoin.