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Riot Blockchain Announces Strategic Investment in The Block

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Riot Blockchain Announces Strategic Investment in The Block

The Block is building a community for blockchain technology and cryptoasset enthusiasts

Riot Blockchain, Inc., (Nasdaq: RIOT) (the “Company”) today announced a strategic investment in The Block Crypto, Inc. (“The Block”). The Block is building a community for enthusiasts of blockchain technology and cryptoassets. The platform will provide members with high quality content, powerful community discussion, access to experts, and regular industry events. The Company’s investment in The Block will be used to advance its technology and continue building its team.

Mike Dudas is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Block. Mr. Dudas is the former co-founder and CRO of Button, a global mobile affiliate commerce company which has been ranked the #1 company to work for in NYC by Crain’s, has grown to 70 people, and raised $35 million in capital from top New York City and Silicon Valley venture capital funds including Greycroft, Redpoint, and Norwest. Mr. Dudas is a builder of mobile commerce businesses with prior professional experience at Google, Braintree/Venmo and PayPal. Mr. Dudas earned a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

“This investment fits well into our corporate strategy of building gateways to blockchains,” stated John O’Rourke, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Riot Blockchain. “The growing appetite for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology focused content has yet to be fully serviced by any single source. The Block is building a platform uniquely positioned to stand apart as a definitive source of curated media and high signal community discussion in this sector.”

Founded in 2018, The Block intends to be an on-ramp to the world of programmable money, distributed ledgers, and decentralized applications for millions of people. Utilizing a network of industry influencers and a team of media and information professionals, The Block aims to cut through the noise and surface signal in an accessible way across key areas of blockchain and crypto assets: social engagement and discourse, market information, media, education, and more.

“Due to its decentralized nature, the epicenter of blockchain technology will almost certainly not be represented by one single source,” commented Mike Dudas, Founder and CEO of The Block. “The Block will help fill that massive prospective void, in attempting to become the epicenter of decentralized commerce.”

About The Block

For more information about The Block, please follow @TheBlock__ on Twitter.

About Riot Blockchain

Riot Blockchain is focused on building, supporting, and operating Blockchain technologies, primarily through its cryptocurrency mining operations and other internally developed businesses, as well as through potential joint ventures, acquisitions, and targeted investments in the sector. For more information, visit http://www.RiotBlockchain.com/.

Investor Notice

Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the risks, uncertainties and forward-looking statements described under “Risk Factors” in Item 1A of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017 filed with the SEC on April 17, 2018 (the “2017 10-K”) and in periodic reports we file with the SEC in the future. If any of these risks were to occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations would likely suffer. In that event, the value of our securities could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment. The risks and uncertainties we describe are not the only ones facing us. Additional risks not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations. In addition, our past financial performance may not be a reliable indicator of future performance, and historical trends should not be used to anticipate results in the future. See “Safe Harbor” below.

Safe Harbor

The information provided in this press release may include forward-looking statements relating to future events or the future financial performance of the Company. Because such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Words such as “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” “intends,” “will,” “should,” “potential,” “hope” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying them. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations of the Company and involve assumptions that may never materialize or may prove to be incorrect. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of various risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to our history of operating losses, the Company’s ability to successfully implement our new business strategy, our rapidly increasing costs, the Company’s ability to raise additional capital, risks relating to acquisitions, joint ventures and investments in other companies or technologies, the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which historically has been subject to wide swings, legal proceedings, governmental and other regulations affecting the Company’s business and cryptocurrencies and changes in such regulations, growth in the adoption and use of cryptocurrencies, shortages, technological obsolescence and difficulty in obtaining hardware, system failures, computer viruses and cybersecurity threats, technological change, risks associated with the Company’s need for significant electrical power, the Company’s ability to successfully develop, market and launch any cryptocurrency exchange, the Company’s ability to protect the confidentiality of its trade secrets, competition, general economic conditions and other factors discussed in the Company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the factors described in the sections entitled “Risk Factors”, copies of which may be obtained from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, changed circumstances or future events or for any other reason.

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Britain starts formal countdown in ‘final chapter’ of Libor

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Britain starts formal countdown in 'final chapter' of Libor 1

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Friday called a formal end to nearly all Libor rates on December 31 as anticipated, piling pressure on markets to complete their biggest change in decades.

Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, is being replaced by rates compiled by central banks after lenders were fined billions of dollars for trying to rig what was once dubbed the world’s most important number, used for pricing home loans and credit cards across the world.

“This is an important step towards the end of Libor, and the Bank of England and FCA urge market participants to continue to take the necessary action to ensure they are ready,” the FCA said in a statement.

All sterling, euro, Swiss franc and Japanese yen denominations of Libor will end on Dec. 31, the FCA said. As previously announced by the U.S. Federal Reserve, some dollar denominated versions will continue until mid-2023.

“Today’s announcements mark the final chapter in the process that began in 2017, to remove reliance on unsustainable LIBOR rates and build a more robust foundation for the financial system,” Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement.

“With limited time remaining, my message to firms is clear – act now and complete your transition by the end of 2021.”

The FCA said that it does not expect any Libor setting to become “unrepresentative” before December, meaning that contracts that use Libor for pricing would have to switch to another rate at short notice.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Rachel Armstrong and Jason Neely)

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China’s export growth seen surging in Jan-Feb on low base: Reuters poll

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China's export growth seen surging in Jan-Feb on low base: Reuters poll 2

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports likely surged to a three-year high and imports also jumped in the first two months of the year, thanks to a low base, as economic activity ground to a halt last year due to draconian COVID-19 control measures, a Reuters poll showed.

Exports are expected to have risen 38.9% in January-February from a year earlier, according to a median forecast in a Reuters poll of 22 economists, up from 18.1% gain in December.

China’s customs began combining January and February data last year to smooth distortions caused by the Lunar New Year, which can fall in either month.

Separately, the head of China state planner said on Friday that China’s exports are estimated to have grown over 50% in the first two months, without specifying whether that was in yuan or dollar terms.

The strong forecasts contrast with official and private manufacturing surveys that have indicated a weakening in external demand for Chinese products.

“China’s exports are facing both positive and negative impacts currently,” analysts with China Minsheng Bank said in a note.

“The exports volume of medical supplies and transferred orders from other countries due to coronavirus-related disruptions to production will decrease, with more countries speeding up work resumption with the rollout of vaccines.”

The bank’s analysts also expected a rebound of overseas demand for Chinese goods with the reopening of global economy.

Chinese factory activity normally goes dormant during the Lunar New Year break as workers return to their home towns. This year, the government appealed to workers to avoid travelling to curb the spread of COVID-19, prompting some economists to forecast a marginal boost to production especially in the country’s coastal export-dominant provinces.

Imports likely rose 15% in the first two months versus a year ago, the poll showed, with some analysts expecting the number to have been lifted by high commodity prices.

China’s trade surplus is expected to have narrowed to $60 billion in the same period from $78.17 billion in December, according to the poll. The data will be released on Sunday.

(Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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U.S. job growth likely regained steam in February

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U.S. job growth likely regained steam in February 3

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth likely accelerated in February as more services businesses reopened amid falling new COVID-19 cases, quickening vaccination rates and additional pandemic relief money from the government, putting the labor market recovery back on firmer footing and on course for further gains in the months ahead.

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday will, however, also offer a reminder that as the United States enters the second year of the coronavirus pandemic the recovery remains excruciatingly slow, with millions of Americans experiencing long spells of joblessness and permanent unemployment.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday offered an optimistic view of the labor market, but cautioned a return to full employment this year was “highly unlikely.”

“We will probably see more people having gone back on payrolls,” said Sung Won Sohn, a finance and economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “Many will be related to service jobs, but that will not mean a rapid increase in jobs. It’s a slow progress toward eventual full recovery.”

Nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 182,000 jobs last month after rising only 49,000 in January, according to a Reuters poll of economists. Payrolls declined in December for the first time in eight months.

Economists saw no impact from the mid-February deep freeze in the densely populated South as the winter storms hit after the week during which the government surveyed establishments and businesses for the employment report.

But unseasonably cold weather last month, especially in the Northeast, and production cuts at auto assembly plants because of a global semiconductor chip shortage likely shortened the average workweek.

The labor market has been slow to respond to the drop in daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, which helped fuel a boost in consumer spending in January that prompted economists to sharply upgrade their gross domestic product growth estimates for the first quarter.

Historically, employment lags GDP growth by about a quarter. But economists believe the catching up started in February, a year after the economy fell into recession at the start of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak.

A survey last week showed consumers’ perceptions of the labor market improved in February after deteriorating in January and December. In addition, a measure of manufacturing employment increased to a two-year high in February.

Though millions are unemployed, companies are struggling to find workers, which is contributing to holding back job growth. A survey on Wednesday showed employment growth in the services industry slowed last month, with businesses reporting they were “unable to fill vacant positions with qualified applicants.”

That was underscored by an NFIB survey on Thursday showing 91% of small businesses trying to hire in February reported few or no qualified applicants for their open positions.

WORKER SHORTAGE

This labor market dichotomy is because the pandemic is keeping some workers at home, fearful of accepting or returning to jobs that could expose them to the virus.

It has also disproportionately affected women who have been forced to drop out of the labor force to look after children as many schools remain closed for in-person learning. According to Census Bureau data, around 10 million mothers living with their own school-age children were not actively working in January, 1.4 million more than during the same month in 2020.

The Fed’s Beige Book report on Wednesday showed there are shortages of workers in both low-skill and skilled trade occupations. The vacancies are mainly in the high-growth industries that have fared well throughout the pandemic, such as information technology, engineering, construction, customer support, manufacturing, and accounting and finance.

“Jobseekers are more hesitant to pursue many of the in-demand roles that are required to be onsite, particularly in industries like manufacturing, which has seen double digit increases in job roles like assemblers and warehouse managers,” said Karen Fichuk, CEO of Randstad North America.

The virus has greatly altered the economic landscape and many of the services industry jobs lost will likely not return.

Though the unemployment rate has dropped below 10%, it has been understated by people misclassifying themselves as being “employed but absent from work.” It is expected to have held steady at 6.3% in February. Just over 4 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months in January, while 3.5 million were permanently unemployed.

Given the difficulties of retraining, structural unemployment could account for a bigger share of joblessness in the near future.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Economists believe the labor market will gather steam in the spring and through summer, with vaccinations increasing daily, even though the pace of decline in COVID-19 infections has flattened recently.

A boost to hiring is also expected from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion recovery plan, which is under consideration by Congress.

“The labor force will begin a meaningful recovery in mid-2021 as extensive vaccine distribution will push toward herd immunity, reducing health concerns and allowing for a more complete recovery of some hard-hit industries,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Dan Burns and Andrea Ricci)

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