Many others had done it, but nobody quite as blatantly as beverage maker Long Island Iced Tea Corp, which on Thursday became the latest to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, bizarrely but profitably changing its name to Long Blockchain Corp, which sent its shares soaring by 500%.
In an ironic twist, we previewed LTEA's hilarious "pivot" just one day earlier when - discussing a similar surge in microcap stock Net Element - we said:
Now that it is abundantly clear that for a stock to explode higher, all that is necessary - and sufficient - is a press release mentioning the company's name and throwing in the word "blockchain" in the same sentence (see Riot Blockchain and LongFin Corp), other public microcaps have decided that if that's all it takes, then by all means they will gladly take investors' money.
Indeed, as the value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed in recent months, companies previously focused on making fitness apparel, bras, cigars and beverages (and many other unrelated things) have rebranded themselves as virtual currency or blockchain companies of one sort or another. In this light, what Long Island Ice Tea Blockchain did was the culmination of what to many is clear mania beahvior, as many obscure companies have pivoted operations or simply changed their names to cash-in on the cryptocurrency wave, a trend reminiscent of the dotcom boom. As profiled previously, a barrage of companies have seen their shares sky-rocket, largely on words such as “crypto” or “blockchain” in their names.
And investors have cheered them on, pushing their stock prices up, forcing countless microcaps to ride the "Blockchain train"
Artist's impression of The blockchain train
Courtesy of the NYT, below is a list of companies that have moved into crypto or blockchain businesses, or changed their names. The list also captures the surge in market value since the close on Oct. 11, a day before bitcoin crossed the $5,000 mark.
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BEFORE: Long Island Iced Tea Corp.
AFTER: Long Blockchain Corp.
Long Island Iced Tea made iced teas in flavors including peach and lemon, as well as lemonades. On Thursday, the company, based in Farmingdale, N.Y., said it was shifting its corporate focus to the blockchain.
In the company's own words:“We view advances in blockchain technology as a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and have made the decision to pivot our business strategy in order to pursue opportunities in this evolving industry.” (December 21)
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BEFORE: Vapetek Inc.
AFTER: Nodechain Inc.
Vapetek made batteries and liquid for electronic cigarettes. In September, it rolled out a candy flavored e-liquid called Rock Kandi. This month, the Nevada-based company renamed itself and said it would shift to mining virtual currencies.
In the company’s words: “We are confident that cryptocurrency mining and blockchain technology has a large market opportunity in the coming years and we look forward to growing the company and creating shareholder value, while helping to innovate the future of global currency.” (December 20)
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BEFORE: Bioptix Inc.
AFTER: Riot Blockchain Inc.
Bioptix was a pharmaceutical company until this year. In October, the Colorado company said it was changing its name, making an investment in a Canadian virtual currency exchange and creating operations to mine Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
The company said that alongside its virtual currency business, it will continue to pursue “products for cattle, equine and swine for the assistance and facilitation of reproduction.” (October 4)
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BEFORE: On-line PLC
AFTER: On-line Blockchain PLC
On-Line was a small British company that previously incubated internet businesses. This fall, the company said it was renaming itself and shifting to focus on virtual currency technology.
The company said: “Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are a new and exciting area we have been working on for some time to provide systems to support the roll out of these technologies across a range of applications.” (October 26)
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BEFORE: Croe Inc.
AFTER: The Crypto Company
To become a public company, The Crypto Company acquired a small existing public company, Croe, which previously developed women’s fitness clothing.
The company said this summer that its “core services include consulting and advising companies regarding investment and trading in the digital asset market and investing in a manner that diversifies exposure to the growing class of digital assets.” (June 9)
After the change, the Securities and Exchange Commission, concerned by the company’s actions, suspended trading of its stock. More such companies are sure to follow.
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BEFORE: Rich Cigars Inc.
AFTER: Intercontinental Technology Inc.
Rich Cigars previously produced cigars. But the Florida company said this month that it was changing its name, getting out of the cigar business, moving to Colorado and creating subsidiaries to mine for virtual currencies.
The company said it will be pursuing “the development of a unique cryptocurrency mining business for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which will operate on a 24/7 basis.” (December 14)
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BEFORE: SkyPeople Fruit Juice Inc
AFTER: Future FinTech Group Inc
Formerly SkyPeople Fruit Juice was "engaged in developing agricultural plantations and produces and markets fruit juice concentrates, fruit beverages, and other fruit related products in China and overseas markets.
The company changed its name “to reflect commitment to e-commerce and agricultural commodities trading”.
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BEFORE: 360 Capital Financial
AFTER: 360 Blockchain Inc.
360 Capital Financial provided financial services to companies. In October, the Canadian company announced it would change its name and ticker symbol and begin investing exclusively in blockchain-based companies.
The company said: “We are taking an all-round view to the 360 Blockchain Inc. business plan; with a mission to empower blockchain technologies with capital and experience to create exponential value.” (October 4)
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BEFORE: Leeta Gold Corp.
AFTER: Hive Blockchain Technologies
Leeta Gold was focused on mineral exploration in Canada, though with little apparent success. This summer, the company said it was acquiring a Bitcoin mining company, Genesis, with facilities in Iceland and renaming itself.
According to the company: “This transaction positions HIVE as a leading cryptocurrency miner in an attractive jurisdiction, Iceland, with low energy costs.” (June 14)
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Other companies have been less blatant about their "pivot", and instead changing their name, they acquired or announced expansion plans involving various "blockchain"-linked buzz words.
Digital Power Corp
The power system solutions provider has launched cryptocurrency mining operation.
- Market cap as of Oct. 11: $10.98 mln
- Market cap as of Dec. 21: $97.2 mln
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Marathon Patent Group
Shares in the intellectual property licensing and management company have zoomed after announcing a deal to buy cryptocurrencies miner Global Bit Ventures Inc.
- Market cap as of Oct. 11: $17.8 mln
- Market cap as of Dec. 21: $54.5 mln
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The internet advertising firm in October said it planned an Initial Coin Offering of Blockchain Identification Graph tokens (BIGtokens). Most recently, the firm said it would offer a cryptocurrency dividend.
- Market cap as of Oct. 11: $28.4 mln
- Market cap as of Dec. 21: $52.2 mln
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Nova LifeStyle Inc
The furniture maker launched a blockchain-enabled unit, called “I Design Blockchain Technology Inc” on Wednesday and said it planned to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the platform.
- Market cap as of Dec. 19: $60.8 mln
- Market cap as of Dec. 21: $78.6 mln
Source: Reuters, NYT