SEC delists failed cryptocurrency company Long Blockchain
The Securities and Exchange Commission has delisted the stock of Long Blockchain Corp. three years after the company changed its name from Long Island Iced Tea Corp. and embarked on a failed transition into the cryptocurrency business.
The SEC order, effective Monday, cited the "protection of investors" and Long Blockchain's failure to file annual reports since one covering calendar 2017 and quarterly reports since the one for the period ended Sept. 30, 2018.
Despite the Farmingdale company's name change in December 2017, its "blockchain business never became operational," the SEC said.
The SEC filing said the regulatory agency agreed to a settlement offer from Long Blockchain, but did not provide details on the scope of the case.
Calls seeking comment from the SEC and Long Blockchain chief executive Andy Shape were not immediately returned.
In July 2018, the SEC subpoenaed documents from Long Blockchain in connection with an investigation, but it remains unclear if charges will be lodged in that case.
Trading of Long Blockchain stock was halted after the shares closed at $1.12 in over-the-counter trading on Friday. In June 2018, the company's stock was moved to over-the-counter trading after being delisted by the Nasdaq Stock Market.
In March 2018, Long Blockchain became a national punchline after HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" devoted a lengthy segment to the corporate name change and a subsequent increase in its stock price.
The stock soared more than 180% immediately after the name change was announced.
Since that time, the company has gone through several CEOs and announced a variety of unrealized strategies related to cryptocurrencies, including a plan to buy specialized computers that "mine" bitcoin, the most widely known cryptocurrency.
A year ago, privately held Stran & Company Inc. called off a plan to merge with Long Blockchain because the companies would be "unable to satisfy all necessary closing conditions" within a reasonable amount of time, according to a news release.
Stran, based in Quincy, Massachusetts, and led by Long Blockchain CEO Shape, is a marketer of promotional and branding products.
The nonbinding merger deal called for Long Blockchain to take a new name reflecting its new focus on promotional products. Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.
Long Blockchain continues to operate its beverage subsidiary, now known as Long Island Brand Beverages. Long Blockchain agreed to sell the ready-to-drink beverage unit to ECC Ventures 2 Corp., based in Vancouver, British Columbia, but that deal has yet to close.
A blockchain is a decentralized form of a digital database that tracks transactions, including transfers of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
Bitcoin itself has been highly volatile. On Tuesday afternoon, the digital currency was trading at about $46,000, down 16%.
Still, bitcoin has climbed almost 400% in the past 12 months and is trading far higher than levels seen in December 2017, when it peaked at about $14,000.