Cannabis Brand High Times To Become ‘First Ever’ IPO To Accept Crypto

Francisco Memoria
  • Cannabis brand High Times is reportedly going to become the "first ever" to accept cryptocurrencies in its initial public offering (IPO)
  • The move, according to its CEO, is meant to avoid leaving crypto investors out, and to be at the forefront of popular culture.

Cannabis culture media firm High Times Holding, which claims to be the “original voice in cannabis,” has recently revealed it’ll accept bitcoinand ethereum in its initial public offering (IPO), allegedly making it the ‘first ever’ to accept cryptocurrency investments.

According to a post on its website, the firm is set to accept cryptocurrencies as its part of its mission to be “at the forefront of popular culture.” High Times is selling its shares at $11, with the minimum investment amount being of $99. The brand is looking to go public on the Nasdaq exchange, with the ticker “HITM.”

To accept the cryptocurrencies the firm filed a Regulation A+ report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which details a near $29 million negative equity reduction, a decrease in operating losses, and debt reduction.

The Regulation A+ (Reg A+) lets small and early-stage companies access capital in an “alternative to a traditional IPO” that lets them sell shares to the general public and not just accredited investors. According to Nasdaq, the filing lets businesses raise as much as $50 million in a 12-month period from members of the public.

Per High Times CEO Adam Levin, cryptocurrencies created a new “investor base across the world” the company didn’t want to exclude from its IPO. He was quoted as saying:

While we didn’t believe that the ICO process was the right move for our brand, it would’ve been foolish to leave this emerging investor base out as we continue to transform into a diversified media, events and merchandise giant.

Adam Levin

High Times was notably launched back in 1974, and is now seen as one of the most important media organizations in the industry, with an online magazine whose “presence [is] still going strong.”

Cannabis and Crypto

Cryptocurrencies have been pointed to as a solution to one of the cannabis industry’s problems. In the US state ballot initiatives made marijuana usage legal, but a number of banks refuse to offer cannabis-related businesses banking services. As a result, these operate only in cash.

Operating this way makes cannabis businesses a target for criminals, and forces them to spend money on security: safes, armored vehicles, guards and more. Given their features, cryptocurrencies could be adopted as a safer and cheaper alternative.

The Dash community has worked to be more involved in the cannabis industry. Last year, dash partnered with Alt Thirty Six, paying it $496,000 to “integrate Dash as a payment option in the cannabis industry’s point of sale (POS) systems.” The move was set to help vendors save 10-15 percent.

Potcoin, a cryptocurrency created for the cannabis industry, made headlines earlier this year after former NBA star-turned diplomat Dennis Rodman appeared on CNN wearing a Potcoin t-shirt.

BBC: Facebook Planning to Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ in Q1 2020

Siamak Masnavi

Social networking giant Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency (internally dubbed "GlobalCoin") and crypto-powered global payments network (internally called "Project Libra") worldwide by Q1 2020, according to a report published earlier today by BBC News, the world's largest broadcast news organization.

Project Libra's Origin Story

  • 8 May 2018: In a post on Facebook, David Marcus, the former head of Messenger, who was at that time also a board member (since December 2017) of crypto exchange Coinbase, revealed that he was leaving that role to set up a new group focused on exploring applications of blockchain technology across the whole of Facebook.
  • 13 December 2018: Cheddar reported that Facebook’s blockchain group is planning to "potentially disrupt the entire payments industry":

"At a private dinner Facebook hosted during a recent crypto conference, one attendee told Cheddar that Facebook employees pitched the idea of creating a decentralized digital currency for the social network’s 2 billion users."

  • 21 December 2018: Bloomberg reported that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency (a stablecoin) for money transfers within its highly popular messaging app WhatsApp.
  • 28 February 2019: The New York Times confirmed Bloomberg's earlier story, and said that, according to its sources, this project was "far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers."
  • 8 April 2019: Nathaniel Popper, one of the two journalists who wrote the report in the New York Times, provided this update (on Twitter) about Facebook's cryptocurrency project:
  • 2 May 2019: The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was "recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system," and that the core part of this initiative (code-named "Project Libra") is "a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet." Furthermore, this report said that, according to people familiar, Facebook was talking to "financial institutions including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and payment processor First Data Corp." about investing in this project.
  • 17 May 2019: A report by Reuters said that FinTech company Libra Network was registered in the Republic and Canton of Geneva on May 2. Looking at the entry for Libra Networks, which was published on May 7 in the Swiss Official Gazettte of Commerce (SOGC), tells us:
    • Libra Networks LLC (registration number: CHE193533388) has its registered office in Geneva.
    • According to the English translation, the stated purpose of this company is "provision of services in the fields of finance and technology, as well as the development and production of related software and infrastructure, particularly in connection with investment activities, the payment operation, the financing, identity management, data analysis, big data, blockchain and other technologies."
    • The share capital is CHF 20,000 (100 shares, each with a nominal value of CHF 200); all of the shares are owned by Facebook Global Holdings II, LLC.

Facebook's Stablecoin: GlobalCoin

Here is what we have learnt from the BBC News report:

  • Facebook "is planning to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020."
  • The plan is to start testing the new cryptocurrency (some kind of stablecoin), GlobalCoin, by the end of 2019.
  • Facebook has been getting "advice on operational and regulatory issues" from the UK's central bank governor Mark Carney (whom Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met in April) and from U.S. Treasury officials.
  • Facebook is also in talks with global remittance firms such as Western Union "as it looks for cheaper and faster ways for people without a bank account to send and receive money."

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