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.

tZERO Opened Its Doors to Non-Accredited Investors, but Their Options Are Still Limited

Samuel Haig

Last week, tZERO announced that its securities tokens (TZROP) are now available to be traded to non-accredited investors, as per Rule 144 of the Securities Act of 1933.

Despite the launch, the platform offers limited functionality, Overstock's OSTKO security token and TZROP comprising the only markets that are currently available for non-accredited investors to trade. Traders are only able to place limit and market orders to purhcase security tokens using fiat currency, with tZERO's markets open for trade during weekdays between 9:30am and 4:00pm EDT.

Signing up to trade on tZERO requires submitting identifying documentation to the platform, with verification taking several days for the company to complete. As the platform develops and evolves, however, more functionality is to be expected.

TZROP Tokens to Generate Divident for Investors

TZROP were first issued via a private placement during August 2018, and have been tradable among accredited investors since January of this year. The tokens are now exclusively tradable on the PRO Securities alternative trading system (ATS) to investors who hold an account with Dinosaur Financial - a broker-dealer headquartered in New York.

According to a press release, the TZROP token offers investors “direct exposure to tZERO’s revenue growth through its quarterly dividend model,” with tZERO pledging to distribute 10% of its adjusted gross revenue to holders of its security token . Investors can reportedly choose to receive dividends in the form of BTC, ETH, TZROP, or U.S. dollars.

However, the release notes that the distribution of dividends is subject to approval from tZERO’s board of directors, and Delaware law.

Peer-to-Peer Trading of TZROP Tokens Prohibited

TZERO emphasized that peer-to-peer transfers of TZROP have not been authorized, asserting that TZROP holders must exclusively resell tokens “on the PRO Securities' [...] ATS only through a brokerage account established with Dino, a subscriber to the ATS, with clearing and custody provided by Electronic Transaction Clearing, a registered broker-dealer, and Computershare, as transfer agent.”

To comply with the company’s regulatory obligations, tZERO also reserves the right to prohibit tZERO security token holders from moving TZROP from Dinosaur Financial brokerage accounts to personal wallets.

The chief executive officer of tZERO, Saum Noursalehi, stated:

“Following the one-year anniversary of the close of our security token offering, non-accredited investors now have the ability to purchase and trade in our security tokens. Today marks another milestone as we further democratize access to all investors, regardless of net worth, can invest in the business opportunity of a blockchain-based capital market.”

TZERO Receives Patent for ‘TOME’ Technology

On Aug. 6, 2019, tZERO was awarded a patent for a process for recording trading data on a public blockchain, dubbed the “Time Ordered Merkle Epoch (TOME) methodology.”

According to the company’s announcement:

TOME is a base-layer technology that uses digital signatures to record and verify time-series data such as trades, executions and settlements. This technology enables low-latency systems, including traditional matching engines or private blockchain ledgers, to be anchored into immutable public blockchain ledgers.

TZERO plans to incorporate TOME into its product suite, in addition to licensing the technology to other firms.