Bioptix changes name, direction as it shifts from biotech to blockchain

CASTLE ROCK — Bioptix Inc. (Nasdaq: BIOP), the biotech company formerly based in Boulder, is undergoing a complete name change and a shift in direction for the company.

The business is now called Riot Blockchain Inc., and it will be a strategic investor and operator in the blockchain industry, with a focus on Bitcoin and Ethereum.

It’s been a year of change for the company formerly known as Bioptix, which was purchased by Castle Rock biotech firm Venaxis in September 2016. In December, it changed its name and ticker symbol.

By January, it started making significant changes to its board of directors and slashed its employees. At that time, it also announced that it was investigating strategic alternatives. In April, the company had a new CEO.

But this might be the biggest change for Bioptix, which is leaving the biotech space for blockchain, a technology that takes continuously growing records, called blocks, and links them together through cryptography that can be resistant to the modification of the data. This technology led to the prevalence of digital currency such as Bitcoin.

As part of the change into Riot Blockchain, the company has invested in Coinsquare Ltd., a Canadian exchange for trading digital currencies. This investment is one of several Riot said it plans to pursue.

“At Riot Blockchain, our team has the insight and network to effectively grow and develop blockchain assets,” said Michael Beeghley, CEO of Riot Blockchain, in a prepared statement. “With new applications being developed for blockchain every day, this is a rapidly growing and evolving market. We are excited to have partnered with and led an investment in Coinsquare, a company we believe is well positioned to capitalize on the opportunity in this sector.”

Riot Blockchain has reserved the Nasdaq ticker symbol RIOT and is awaiting Nasdaq approval.