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.

JPM Coin: J.P. Morgan to Begin Testing Its Cryptocurrency with Clients

The management at J.P. Morgan Chase, the world’s sixth-largest bank with $30 trillion in assets under custody, is reportedly planning to begin testing its highly-anticipated cryptocurrency, called “JPM Coin.”

JPM Coin’s initial testing will be carried out with the financial institution’s corporate clients. This, according to a recent report from Bloomberg, which revealed that the bank’s customers would experiment with the coin’s new underlying technology.

JPM Coin Still Needs Regulatory Approval

According to Umar Farooq, the Head of Blockchain Initiatives at J.P. Morgan, the trials involving JPM Coin will focus on conducting fast and cost-effective transactions. The transfers made with the bank’s cryptocurrency may include payments settled between companies and transactions involving traditional bonds.

As confirmed by J.P. Morgan, the institution has not yet obtained regulatory approval to launch its own crypto-based token.

JPM Coin May Be Converted to Fiat Money, After Receiving Payment

Introduced in February 2019, the JPM Coin has been implemented on the Quorum platform, a private (permissioned) implementation of the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain network. Designed primarily as a stablecoin for expediting bank-to-bank transfers, the JPM Coin will be backed with fiat currency.

Before conducting transactions with JPM Coin, users will be required to have the equivalent amount (being transferred with the coin) in fiat deposits. As explained in its technical documentation, the recipients of a transfer in JPM Coin will be able convert the bank’s cryptocurrency to cash.

“Licensing and Approval” Is Time-Consuming

J.P. Morgan’s management confirmed that its crypto will only be backed by the USD when it’s first introduced. However, the giant Wall Street investment bank intends to allow other major currencies to be linked with the JPM Coin in the foreseeable future.

Commenting on the current state of development of the JPM Coin, Farooq remarked: 

The technology is very good, but it takes time in terms of licensing and approval. It must be explained.

Farooq added that the JPM Coin may also be used to finalize transactions involving traditional commodities and bonds. According to the J.P. Morgan executive, the bank’s clients in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. have already expressed an interest in using the institution’s cryptocurrency to settle typical business transactions.

"Reducing Clients’ Counterparty and Settlement Risk"

Although J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon had initially referred to Bitcoin (BTC), the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, as a fraud (but later admitted he didn't understand the technology), the investment bank’s website now states:

We have always believed in the potential of blockchain technology and we are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated. As a globally regulated bank, we believe we have a unique opportunity to develop the capability in a responsible way with the oversight of our regulators.

It adds: “Ultimately, we believe that JPM Coin can yield significant benefits for blockchain applications by reducing clients’ counterparty and settlement risk, decreasing capital requirements and enabling instant value transfer.”