Investments

Long Island Iced Tea Becomes Long Island Blockchain; Stock Surges 300 Percent

Need more evidence that the cryptocurrency craze is taking a page from the dotcom boom of the early 1990’s? Check out Long Island Iced Tea Corp., which saw its stock surge Thursday (Dec. 21) after changing its name to Long Blockchain Corp.

According to Reuters, shares increased 300 percent after the company announced it is rebranding itself as Long Blockchain, and that it is focusing its business on blockchain technology. The company said it was in the early stages of looking at specific opportunities to grow the blockchain side of its business. It also plans to maintain its beverage business, in which it sells Long Island Iced Tea and Long Island Lemonade, noted the report.

With the 300 percent increase in shares, Long Blockchain’s market value went from $23.8 million to $92 million as of the close of trading Wednesday (Dec. 20). Other small companies that are announcing blockchain businesses are also seeing their stock prices surge. This is reminiscent of the dotcom boom, when any company that tacked on a .com to the end of their name was sure to get a lift in their shares.

Obscure companies aren’t the only ones benefiting from the cryptocurrency craze. Overstock, the online retailer that is focusing solely on its blockchain efforts, has seen its stock climb all year. Earlier this week, Medici, the blockchain unit of Overstock.com, announced the launch of tZERO, an alternative trading system that is creating a platform to exchange cryptocurrency tokens in the U.S.

According to a report in CoinDesk, the first-of-its-kind alternative trading system (ATS) will be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Overstock’s Medici is teaming up with RenGen, a FinTech that will act as the market maker, and Argon Group, an investment bank focused on ICOs, to offer the ATS.

Rather than relying on broker-dealers to buy and sell securities, tZERO hooks up buyers and sellers in a so-called dark pool. The idea is to develop an alternative to the NASDAQ, using blockchain technology that is open and transparent. The premiere of tZERO will mark the first regulator-approved way for U.S. investors to trade cryptocurrency.

“I think it’s a historic event. We’re opening a new type of capital market,” said Patrick Byrne, chief executive of Overstock.com.

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