Could COVID-19 Impair Bitcoin Mining? Riot Blockchain Says It Might

Quarantined workers, supply chain disruptions, non-essential designation, and more could hurt Riot Blockchain and others.

Cryptocurrency mining firm Riot Blockchain is concerned that the outbreak of COVID-19 could “seriously disrupt” its Bitcoin mining business and operations. The company’s concerns were published in its annual 10-K report, which was filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday of last week.

By design, 10-K reports always include a “general risks” section that includes details on worst-case business scenarios. Riot’s report contained not one, but two subsections that were designated specifically to scenarios relating to COVID-19.

Quarantined workers, disruptions in supply chain, ‘non-essential’ designation, and decreased demand could spell trouble for Bitcoin miners like Riot Blockchain

“[…] We have experienced and will experience disruptions to our business operations resulting from quarantines, self-isolations, or other movement and restrictions on the ability of our employees to perform their jobs,” the report said.

“If we are unable to effectively service our miners, our ability to mine bitcoin will be adversely affected as miners go offline, which would have an adverse effect on our business and the results of our operations.”

The firm also pointed to possible issues with its supply chain: “China has also limited the shipment of products in and out of its borders, which could negatively impact our ability to receive mining equipment from our China-based suppliers,” he said.

Riot Blockchain also said that because “we have not been classified as an essential business in the jurisdictions that have decided that issue to date,” there is a possibility that “we may not be allowed to access our mine or offices.”

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“We may also be forced to close for other reasons such as the health of our associates or because of disruptions in the continued operation of our supply chain and sources of supply.”

Additionally, the report suggested that on a basic level, the widespread economic downturn “may adversely affect demand for bitcoin and impact our operating results.”

Crypto mining companies around the globe are affected by COVID-19

Riot Blockchain is one in a growing number of crypto mining firms that has publicly expressed concerns over the effects of the Coronavirus on its business operations. In early February, PandaMiner, a mining firm based in China, told CoinDesk that quarantine controls had caused disruptions in business as usual.

Abe Yang, the company’s chief executive, said that “not only us, [but] most miner makers have been affected by the outbreak since their factories are based in cities like Dongguan and Shenzhen in Guangdong province.”

Riot Blockchain acknowledged that while the Coronavirus “ could have a material adverse effect on our business,” the effect was difficult to quantify. However, it seems that every corner of the crypto industry–and beyond–will be affected in some way.

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