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.

Malta, the ‘Blockchain Island’ Dominates Crypto Markets’ Trading Volume

Malta, a small nation that became known as the ‘blockchain island’ for its friendly approach to cryptocurrency-related businesses, has seemingly been dominating the cryptocurrency markets when it comes to trading volume.

The country, which was the first to establish a full regulatory framework for distributed ledger technology (DLT),  saw leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance move there after facing regulatory problems in Asia last year.

The exchange seemingly started a trend, as since then various large cryptocurrency trading platforms have followed its footsteps and moved to the cryptocurrency-friendly nation. Exchanges that are now registered in Malta include OKex, BitBay, Alpahex, and Nebula.

The influence these exchanges have is notable in the market, and has helped Malta stand out. According to CryptoCompare’s March 2018 Exchange Review, monthly trading volume from Maltese-registered exchanges increased 56% since February, leading the crypto market by volume.

Cryptocurrency trading volume per jurisdiction in MarchSource: CryptoCompare Exchange Review

Behind Malta were Hong Kong and South Korea, as these countries saw trading volume flowing through exchanges registered there by 54% and 21% respectively. The report notes that in March, Malta-registered exchanges traded $56.1 billion, while those in Hong Kong traded $53.1 billion, and those in South Korea traded $40.2 billion.

While Binance and OKEx helped Malta lead the crypto markets by trading volume, various cryptocurrency exchanges including LBank, BitZ, and HitBTC helped Hong Kong get to second place. South Korea’s place was achieved thanks to UPBit and the controversial Bithumb.

Other countries in Europe notably stayed at the bottom of the pack when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges’ trading volumes. Malta’s leadership can be attributed to its attitude towards blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

As covered the country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, revealed in September of last year he believes “blockchain makes cryptocurrencies the inevitable future of money.” Malta’s pro-crypto approach saw become the first country to put all educational certificates on the blockchain, and have a cryptocurrency-related conference. In it, OKEx was named “Crypto Exchange of Year.”

Despite its friendly approach, the ‘blockchain island’ has also issued warnings against “get-rich-quick” bitcoin scams and other allegedly fraudulent firms trying to swindle investors.