Shares of Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) gained 121.7% in the first half of 2021, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The American Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) miner has been extremely volatile in general and has actually lost two-thirds of February’s peak valuation at this point. The plunge includes a 31% drop in the first 19 days of July.
Riot amplified Bitcoin’s strong price gains over the winter but was equally hypersensitive when the leading cryptocurrency’s prices came back down in May. The crypto market as a whole is both maturing and going through some growing pains, still searching for a firm legal framework on whether Bitcoin holdings should be treated as a currency, an investable equity asset, or some entirely new type of financial beast.
Meanwhile, consumers and individual investors are getting more and more comfortable with some of the leading digital currencies, which bodes well for their long-term future.
Riot produced 243 Bitcoin tokens in its New York and Texas mining facilities in June, adding up to 1,167 new tokens in the first half of the year. The company held a grand total of 2,243 tokens at the end of June, worth roughly $69 million at the public market prices on July 19. The company plans to more than double its mining capacity by the end of 2022
The company also held $241 million of cash equivalents on its balance sheet at the end of March. Riot has no long-term debt to speak of, which lowers the operating risks of holding this stock while Bitcoin tokens go through their usual wild price swings.
I’m warming up to the idea of buying Riot stock instead of actual Bitcoin tokens, thanks to the company’s cash cushion and the ever-growing scale of its mining operations. The stock looked incredibly risky in February but the warning lights have dimmed significantly since then. Building a small position in this speculative cryptocurrency stock might actually make sense at these relatively low prices.
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