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Long Island Iced Tea changing name to Long Blockchain

The Farmingdale beverage company’s stock jumped 180% after it announced its “pivot” to focus on the technology behind bitcoin.

Long Island Iced Tea chief executive officer Philip

Long Island Iced Tea chief executive officer Philip Thomas. Photo Credit: Long Island Iced Tea

Farmingdale-based Long Island Iced Tea Corp. is changing its name to Long Blockchain Corp., saying it wants to focus on blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, the company said in a news release Thursday.

Blockchain is a digital ledger sheet where transactions in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are recorded.

“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,” CEO Philip Thomas said in a statement. “We are committed to enhancing shareholder value and believe that our new focus is the best path towards this goal.”

Shares jumped $4.47, or more than 180 percent, to close at $6.91 on Thursday. Over the past year, shares have traded between $1.70 and $9.49.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency are digital currencies that are not tied to a bank or government and allow users to spend money anonymously. The coins are created by users who “mine” them by lending computing power to verify other users’ transactions. They receive coins in exchange. The coins also can be bought and sold on exchanges with U.S. dollars and other currencies. A blockchain is a global running tally of every transaction in the currency.

Interest in cryptocurrencies is booming after the price of bitcoin has soared more than 1,600 percent this year. Futures related to bitcoin began trading recently. The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission this month warned investors on the risks of investing in largely-unregulated digital currencies.

Long Blockchain said Thursday that it plans to ask the Nasdaq Stock Market to change its trading symbol from its current “LTEA,” but didn’t disclose what it wants the symbol changed to.

It said it will continue to run Long Island Brand Beverages LLC, which concentrates on the ready-to-drink segment of the beverage industry.

In October, the company, then called Long Island Iced Tea, said it had received a delisting notice from Nasdaq because the market value of the company’s listed securities had fallen below the $35 million minimum required for continued listing on the exchange. Nasdaq said the company would have until April 9, 2018, to regain compliance.

Bloomberg News reported the name change is “the latest in a near-daily phenomenon sweeping the stock market, where obscure microcap companies reorient to focus on some aspect of the mania sparked by bitcoin’s 1,600 percent rally this year.”

With Newsday staff

CORRECTION: Long Blockchain Corp. is headquartered in Farmingdale. An earlier version of this story misstated the headquarters location.

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