SEC Alleges Insider Buying and selling in Lengthy Blockchain Iced Tea Firm Pivot


  • The SEC has charged three people of insider buying and selling associated to Lengthy Blockchain’s 2017 rebranding.
  • The Lengthy Island Iced Tea Co. modified its title to benefit from Bitcoin hype, however the SEC alleges that it was a part of a rip-off.

The US Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) continues to put down enforcement on Lengthy Blockchain Corp., which is, imagine it or not, a beverage-making firm. In the present day, the company introduced it has charged three individuals with insider buying and selling in relation to the agency’s famed rebranding.

In December 2017, as the value of Bitcoin surged and the press was awash with hype over the potential of blockchain expertise, the Lengthy Island Iced Tea Co. introduced that it had changed its name to Lengthy Blockchain Corp. Its inventory worth shortly rose by 500%, though the corporate struggled when Bitcoin’s personal worth tanked in early 2018.

Confirming what many already suspected in regards to the transfer, the SEC alleges that the rebranding was a part of an insider buying and selling scheme. The SEC charged Eric Watson, an “undisclosed management individual” at Lengthy Blockchain who masterminded the title change, alongside along with his dealer Oliver Barret-Lindsay and Barret-Linday’s good friend Gannon Giguiere.

In line with the SEC, Watson allegedly shared early phrase and a draft press launch of the rebranding announcement with Barret-Lindsay, who in flip handed the data onto Giguiere. The SEC alleges that Giguiere proceeded to buy 35,000 shares of the corporate’s inventory, after which offered these shares inside two hours of the announcement at a revenue of greater than $160,000.

The SEC is searching for everlasting injunctions and civil penalties for all three defendants, in addition to to bar Watson from being an officer and director. The company had previously charged Barret-Lindsay and Giguiere over a separate inventory manipulation scheme, which remains to be being litigated. Lengthy Blockchain founder Philip Thomas, who was CEO when the rebranding occurred in 2017, has not been charged by the SEC.

That is the SEC’s second enforcement towards Lengthy Blockchain to this point this 12 months. Again in February, the company revoked the corporate’s securities registration, delisting its shares and stopping them from being traded. The corporate had not filed a quarterly report since September 2018, Bloomberg reported on the time.

“In December 2017, the corporate modified its title to LBCC and introduced that it was shifting its enterprise operations from tender drink manufacturing to actions associated to blockchain expertise,” the SEC wrote in February. “Its blockchain enterprise by no means grew to become operational.” 

Lengthy Blockchain grew to become an emblem of the absurdity round Bitcoin’s meteoric early mainstream rise, together with the Wild West nature of the burgeoning crypto trade on the time.

Nevertheless, simply this 12 months, Chinese language iced tea firm City Tea—which trades on the Nasdaq—introduced that it had pivoted into blockchain tech and cryptocurrency mining. City Tea’s inventory worth jumped on the announcement, and whereas historical past might have repeated itself on that entrance, hopefully it doesn’t result in related long-tail enforcement by regulators.

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