News & Analysis

Argo Blockchain surges for first time since February as company goes for dual listing

Andrew Saks, Wednesday, 21 July 2021

It is surprising how quickly people accept massive changes these days.

The development cycle of pretty much everything has reduced to a shadow of what it was even five years ago, and as a result phases and fads are short lived, despite being larger than ever.

One such example is meme stock. In January this year, when the WallStreetBets reddit subgroup was in its full swing, disrupting markets and finding its feet as the pioneer of forum and social media-based market making, the entire trading community, including banks and brokers were working out how to deal with massive volatility created by the words of a few people about little known stocks.

Those days are now gone, and the mass coverage and edge-of-the-seat 'what's next' speculation has gone quiet.

The influencers are still looking at the same meme stocks, largely AMC Entertainment and GameStop, both of which are still very volatile, but the frenzied coverage has faded.

There are other stocks, however, which are part of this new appetite for meme trends or populist disruptors, one of which is London Stock Exchange listed software company Argo Blockchain.

Today, its stock rose a tremendous 16.9% between the opening of the markets and midday and shares now trade at £1.

That is a massive rise in value for a company whose share prices have been going steadily down since their sudden peak in February.

Whether this can be categorized as a meme stock is open to interpretation, but it certainly has those characteristics, and in some respects, it can be considered a meme stock and a cryptocurrency entity in one.

Argo Blockchain was founded in 2017 by Mike Edwards, an executive with experience building tech startups, some of which sold to large companies like Google and Twitter. Despite its 'Silicon Roundabout' style of establishment, the company managed to conduct its initial public offering via the traditional method in 2019 and raised $32.5 million after a pre-tax loss of $5 million in 2018.

In February 2021, Argo Blockchain confirmed that it had signed an agreement with Toronto-based ePIC Blockchain to buy $8 million of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) bitcoin mining equipment for delivery in the fourth quarter of the year, which is what caused its first and only massive rally since its listing, and since then, investor interest has gradually waned.

Looking at its performance over the past 12 months gives a very interesting picture, as its shares have risen from penny stock status by over 2,500% which is huge, especially considering that the value per share is still only £1 today, even after today's 16% rally which took place in the early hours of the trading day.

What caused this is the company having filed today for dual listing in the United States.

The company admitted this morning that it has submitted a confidential draft registration statement to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed dual-listing and initial public offering of American Depositary Shares.

According to the company, any offering and IPO in the US is conditional upon the SEC completing its review process and will be subject to market and other conditions, and that the number of ADSs to be issued and pricing has yet to be decided, with trading expected to start in the third quarter of the year.

It may be that this has been done in order to spur confidence in share prices, or to attract a potential buyer, as five years is usually the length of time when investors in start-ups want their exit.

Either way, this has made for an interesting upsurge in a stock which would ordinarily be categorized as meme yet has been affected by a genuine move from the company itself rather than social media influencers.

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