SEC halts trading of iced tea company that pivoted to blockchain

SEC halts trading of iced tea company that pivoted to blockchain
Lipton / Timothy B. Lee

Back in 2017, we reported on the bizarre story of the Long Island Iced Tea Company rebranding itself as the Long Blockchain Corp. This happened at the peak of the last big blockchain boom, with bitcoin’s price approaching $20,000 and dubious initial coin offerings raising millions of dollars. The name change led to an immediate tripling of the company’s stock.

Beyond the name change, the Long Blockchain Corp’s blockchain strategy was vague. The company said it was “shifting its primary corporate focus toward the exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology.”

The company initially planned to buy bitcoin mining equipment, but those plans were scrapped within weeks. The NASDAQ stock exchange soon got fed up and booted the company, forcing investors to trade the stock over the counter.

Now the Securities and Exchange Commission has revoked Long Blockchain’s stock registration, effectively banning the general public from trading its shares altogether. The SEC says that the company’s “blockchain business never became operational” and that the company hasn’t reported on its financials since 2018.

At the time of its 2017 announcement, Long Blockchain said it wasn’t getting out of the iced tea business—that business would continue operating as a subsidiary. Indeed, the iced tea part of the business still appears to be working fine, so maybe the company can pivot back to its tea business and pretend that whole blockchain thing never happened.

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