From blockchain to big bucks, it’s all in a name

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A trend among companies trying to be relevant in today’s investing climate is becoming apparent. When the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation decided to change its name to Long Blockchain and saw its stock rise, other companies quickly saw the opportunity to regain valuable marketing exposure by adding the word “blockchain” to their company name as well.

Castle Rock, CO-based company Bioptix was one of the first to see the rise of blockchain as a business trend to hit gold. While pundits point to Bitcoin as “the new gold rush,” companies see the term blockchain as springboard to relevance.

Once rebranding itself Riot Blockchain in October 2017 saw its stock jumped from $3 a share to a high of $38.60. The rebranding effort then infused their operations into investing in other blockchain companies, a major enterprise shift for a company originally known for peddling animal fertility products. 

Riot’s new CEO, John O’Rourke, also reportedly cashed in on the blockchain trend by unloading 30,383 shares that he owned in the company into the stock market once its shares hit $46.80 apiece. He ended up earning about $869,000 from the transaction, raising eyebrows about the so-called “Friday Dump.”

O’Rourke cited taxes as the reason for selling his own shares. He told Denver Post, “Basically, I sold less than 10 percent of my overall position. And I was doing it for tax obligations.”

The iconic Kodak brand is another that is cashing in on the blockchain and bitcoin frenzy. After the old film manufacturing company had “lent its name to a digital currency called KodakCoin,” according to the New York Times, its shares shot up 200 percent late in January 2018. KodakCoin is slated to fuel a blockchain used by its roster of photographers for making permanent their records and better traceability of photographs captured. This rebranding effort also resulted in striking a licensing deal over the Kodak KashMiner, a device dubbed as “a Bitcoin-mining computer” with the goal of generating its own cryptocurrency.

Other companies like the Crypto Company and UBI Blockchain Internet (formerly JA Energy) are not so lucky. Both companies felt the brunt of the blockchain crunch as the SEC suspended them after suspicion of conducting “potentially manipulative transactions.”