It’s clear that a business idea is hot when companies that have nothing to do with the idea get involved.
It’s clear that the idea has turned into a mania when investors reward companies for doing this.
And that’s exactly the case these days with Bitcoin and all of its ancillary concepts, including the blockchain, the ledger on which virtual currency transactions are recorded.
As the value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed in recent months, companies previously focused on making fitness apparel, cigars and beverages, among other things, have rebranded themselves as virtual currency or blockchain companies of one sort or another. And investors have cheered them on, pushing their stock prices up.
Here’s a look at some of the rebranded companies and their explanations.
Long Island Iced Tea Corp.
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.
The company said: “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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
Rich Cigars Inc.
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)
360 Capital Financial
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)
Leeta Gold Corp.
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)
Nathaniel Popper covers finance and technology. He is the author of “Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money.” He previously worked at The Los Angeles Times and The Forward.
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