February, 2022 - Operational Update

2022 - February | Operational Update

Press Release
07 February 2022

Argo Blockchain plc

("Argo" or "the Company")

February 2022 Operational Update

Operational Update Highlight: Bitcoin Mined, HODL, Operations

  • 135 Bitcoin Mined for February, 2022
  • Non-Recurring Curtailment Due to Cold Weather
  • 71% Mining Margin Generating 4.15 Million Pounds ($5.58 Million USD) Revenue
  • 2,685 Bitcoin HODL, of which 246 Bitcoin Equivalents
  • Intel's First Customer for Blockchain Accelerator Program
  • Order for Transformers 4,5, and 6 to be Delivered to Helios Facility in Early 2023
  • New Transformers Raise Additional 600 MW of Capacity
  • New Board Member Announcement: Raghav Chopra

Transcript of Operational Update for February, 2022

Hey, everyone. It's Peter from Argo. We just put out an operational update and I wanted to walk you through the three points that were announced. Obviously, the first is our normal operational update, our monthly operational update. We have a couple other pieces that we announced, a supply agreement with Intel, as well as the order of some significant high-voltage transformers, which will take us into 2023 in terms of our development work at Helios.

Core Bitcoin Mining Metrics

First, let's start with the usual, the operational update. We mined 135 bitcoin for February. That's down from 172 from January. Obviously, that's a number that we were hoping to be higher. It's lower for a couple different reasons. The first is we had significant curtailment in Quebec. Also, actually at the core facility in North Dakota. We have some machines there. Some of our newer S19s are there, but we also had significant curtailment in Quebec because of cold weather.

I think those of you that are from North America, particularly the Eastern part of North America, know that it's been unusually cold winter that has meant that we have had to give some of that power back to the local utilities, both at Mirabel and at Baie-Comeau. That's part of the agreement that we have. That's how can we get low-cost power for the rest of the year. It does mean that, particularly in the winter months like January, February, we are subject to curtailment.

The good news is that curtailment is mostly over. We're now moving into warmer weather. Our expectations is that we're going to be able to run the machines full-time. It's also good news in the sense that it's what we've said bitcoin mining is good for. It's flexible load. We're able to give power back to the grid in times of high-demand and bring up the base load for the grid for the rest of the year. That's a good thing for the grid. It makes it more stable. It makes it more resilient.

It's certainly why you're seeing lots of bitcoin mining going on in Texas and more and more, because the competitive grid there allows you to essentially be economically incentivized to give power back to the grid. Whereas in Quebec, you have a low flat rate, but you're not incentivized. You don't cut any deal or discounts on future power when you give power back to the grid.

Anyways, that happened. We also saw a significant increase in difficulty, one near the end of January, and then one again in February. That caused the overall global hash rate, or is a result of the overall global hash rate going up. That meant that we were mining less bitcoin with the same amount of hash rate. We knew that January, February, March, we're not going to be putting new machines on this quarter because we're focusing really on getting Texas up and ready. We knew that our results were going to be a little bit more difficult, a little bit more difficult, a little bit down for this quarter, so that's the bigger picture story there.

In terms of the actual numbers, we mined 4.15 million pounds worth of bitcoin, 5.58 million USD, money margin of 71%, again a result of difficulty going up. Still a healthy margin, but not where it was the last quarter, which is in the '80s. In terms of our overall bitcoin HODL, we have 2,685 bitcoin of which 246 were bitcoin equivalents, i.e with the Argo Labs team. They're doing great work continuing to build on what they've done the past few months. In terms of overall bitcoin HODL, those of you that do the math will see that we have less of a HODL this month than we did last month.

We've always been very clear that we try to hold as much bitcoin as we can, but there are three levers that we can pull on, equity, debt, and bitcoin. What we've heard from shareholders big and small is that the preference in the short term at least is debt and selling bitcoin if need be. We have sold some bitcoin and that has gone towards operational expenses and that's okay, that's part of the long-term vision for the company is that we pull on whatever lever we need to pull on at whatever time. It's part of the overall capital plan.

Intel Partnership Agreement for New ASICs

The big news I think that we're really excited about, I was going to say most excited about it, but I think we're most excited about Helios, but the big news that we're really excited about from this month, I think most of you are aware on February 11th we put out a tweet saying that we were one of Intel's first customers for their new blockchain accelerator. The details of that deal are not public yet and that's due to the confidentiality clauses in the agreement that we have with Intel.

We're going at their pace in terms of what we can disclose, but we're happy to put it into this RNS, get a little bit more information out. The accelerator is chips and those chips will be coming to us in the second half of this year. We were selected, and selected is the right word, we were chosen as one of Intel's clients because of our ESG bonafide, all of the work that we've done in being a leader on the ESG side of things was very attractive to them, that's an important part of their work in the blockchain space if you read that one blog article that they put out.

It's very clear that that's an important part for them in their considerations about how they're going to develop computing power into the future for blockchain technologies. The other thing that is important is that we have pro-rata rights as part of the agreement, so that means that we get a certain guaranteed supply of the Intel units that are coming out into the future which is significant for us.

The one other thing I should say is that one of the other key pieces that was important to Intel as they were talking to us before we signed the agreement, was our experience in mining. Obviously, Perry and our technology team have been at the forefront of bitcoin mining, cryptocurrency mining for the last four years. Perry in particular has an extraordinary amount of experience and knowledge and creativity. I think that was also a part of the discussion and a part of why we've been selected to be one of their three current customers.

Again, we'll put more details out on that as it goes, as we go, as we get more knowledge or as we get more ability to do that but for now, that's as much as we can say.

Transformer Purchase for Helios Facility

The last piece is the last part of the RNS that we put out is that we have bought or we have put an order in for four more transformers. These are the high voltage transformers. If you watch the video that we put out this past week, you saw that the first one of them have arrived, and that was the order that we put a year ago, or almost a year ago when we initially closed the DPN acquisition and we knew we were building out Helios.

Those take almost a year, depending on various factors, but they take roughly a year. We've put in the order for next year, for early 2023 for transformers three, four, five, and six. They're the same size and the same specifications as the ones that have just arrived and that will be an additional 600 megawatts of capacity at Helios. I think, again, as most of you that follow the company know we have 800 megawatts of total-- We have an agreement, an interconnection agreement for 800 megawatts.

We now want to make sure that we have the right pieces in place to fill that up at our own top timeframe, on our own time schedule but having those long lead items in place is super important. Those are coming Q1, Q2 2023. As I said, that's an extra 600 megawatts of capacity. In terms of getting to the capacity that we need for phase one, a big part of that is these high voltage transformers. We put out a video recently of the first one arriving. It was a big day for us.

I am happy to say that in the last couple of days, the second one has also arrived. Here's a couple pictures of the second one arriving. If you miss the last video, these things are 300,000 pounds each, and that's before they're full of oil. It's a logistical challenge to get them on site. They were shipped by train from Pennsylvania and then by truck the last little while, then they need a crane to put them onto the pads that they're resting on at the substation. Kudos to our team for getting them there and getting them there safely, because it's a big operation.

New Argo Blockchain Board Member, Raghav Chopra

All right. Very last thing I haven't commented on publicly. I wanted to add a little bit more color around we have a new board member that joined recently, Raghav Chopra has come to us as our latest board member. He was most recently with AllianceBernstein, has worked with a number of investment firms in the United States, including Goldman Sachs. Has an incredible track record as a technology investor and is a big fan of digital assets.

Has recently left AllianceBernstein and so was able to join the board. He's going to bring a lot of expertise to the company and we're excited to have him as part of the team. All right, everyone, that's the update. Thanks for your interest. Thanks for your support. Onwards and upwards.

[00:09:53] [END OF AUDIO]