Colorado-based Bitcoin mining company Riot Blockchain will launch a fully-regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the United States by the end of June, according to an SEC filing that the company made on March 14th.
The company has partnered with software company SynapseFI and invested at least $250,000 in the project so far. Riot Blockchain has formed a subsidiary, RiotX Holdings, that will officially operate the exchange. The exchange’s budget is expected to expand to roughly $2 million after its launch.
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SynapseFi will reportedly facilitate the company’s banking services with an API that will connect their accounts to US-accredited banking institutions. Additionally, the API will track users’ locations and identities “in order to prevent fraud and improper use of its RiotX exchange.”
“SynapseFi’s API will enable to Company to know where the user is when accessing RiotX, thereby enabling the Company to prevent a user from Montana, a state where the exchange of digital currencies is permitted, from traveling to neighboring Wyoming, where the exchange of digital currencies is not permitted, and using RiotX in the prohibited jurisdiction,” the filing explained.
Indeed, the exchange will allegedly be available in “all 50 states except Hawaii and Wyoming by the end of 2019,” a rather ambitious goal.
Riot Blockchain acknowledges that there may be delays due to regulatory unknowns and capital restrictions, and even said in its own SEC filing that investing in RiotX was risky: “if the Company is unsuccessful in the deployment of RiotX, it may lose most or all of the capital it has invested into the exchange.”
However, Riot Blockchain still believes that launching the exchange and making it available in 48 states this year is an “achievable” feat. RiotX is already licensed (or “approved”) in five states, and currently has open applications in 17 other states.
Hints that Riot Blockchain Would Launch an Exchange Emerged One Year Ago
Riot Blockchain initially announced that it might be launching a cryptocurrency exchange in a public filing dated March 27, 2018. The filing stated that Riot Blockchain “intends to investigate launching a digital currency exchange and a futures brokerage operation.” At the same time, Riot acquired Logical Brokerage Corp., a CFTC-registered futures broker and NFA (National Futures Association) based in Miami.
The acquisition of the firm came roughly one month after the company had rebranded from Bioptix, a biotech company, to Riot Blockchain. The sudden pivot into the crypto industry prompted a subpoena from the SEC, which was keeping an eye on companies who seemed to be looking to make a quick buck off of tacking the word “blockchain” onto their titles.
Then, in November, RiotX “entered into a Master Services Agreement with Shift Markets, Ltd. to provide RiotX with its crypto exchange platform. These services will enable RiotX to further execute its plans to launch a U.S. focused cryptocurrency exchange.” Another partnership with Coinsquare was formed a few months prior in July.
RiotX Enters Agreement with @shiftmarkets for its U.S. Focused Cryptocurrency Exchange #RIOT https://t.co/LOc1t2YMf7
— Riot Blockchain (@RiotBlockchain) November 21, 2018
Now, the world watches as the company will attempt to achieve the ambitious goals it has set for itself.