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.

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Swiss Data Agency Claims No Contact with Facebook Over Libra

Michael LaVere
  • David Marcus told Congress on Tuesday that the FDPIC would oversee data protection and security for libra. 
  • Swiss agency claims to have had no contact with Facebook.

The Swiss agency supposedly responsible for overseeing the data protection of libra reports having no contact with Facebook. 

David Marcus Goes Before Congress

In a hearing held before members of the US Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Facebook’s David Marcus attempted to quell concerns over libra’s security.

Marcus explained that data and privacy protections for the company’s digital currency would be under the regulation of the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC). 

However, FDPIC claims to have had no contact with Facebook. 

No Word From Facebook

According to a report confirmed by CNBC, the social media platform has yet to reach out to FDPIC, despite Marcus’s testimony to Congress. 

Hugo Wyler, head of communication at FDPIC, told CNBC, 

“We have taken note of the statements made by David Marcus, Chief of Calibra, on our potential role as data protection supervisory authority in the Libra context. Until today we have not been contacted by the promoters of Libra.”

Wyler left the door open for his agency to work with Facebook, but explained they would need more information before proceeding. 

He continued, 

“We expect Facebook or its promoters to provide us with concrete information when the time comes. Only then will we be able to examine the extent to which our legal advisory and supervisory competence is given. In any case, we are following the development of the project in the public debate.”

A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed that they have yet to contact the FDPIC.

Libra Facing Pressure

Since officially announcing the digital currency in June, libra has come under fire from regulators around the world. US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell claimed the digital currency posed “serious concerns” for money laundering and user protection. On Tuesday, Marcus was repeatedly grilled by senators with questions related to data privacy. 

Marcus also told Congress that the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA), would be the main financial regulator for Libra. Unlike the FDPIC, the Swiss regulator has confirmed its partnership with Facebook.

Facebook appears to have kicked a hornet’s nest in the US Congress over issuing its digital currency.

Last week, an unofficial copy of a bill surfaced online with the title “Keep Big Tech out of Finance.” The bill was reportedly drafted by members of the House Financial Services Committee--who will meet with Facebook on Wednesday--with the goal of preventing large platforms from issuing their own currency.