Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

What These Obscure Companies Were Doing Before They Pivoted to Crypto

  • Number of companies rebranding to cash in skyrockets
  • Crypto Co., Future Fintech, I Design Blockchain emerge

The 1,700 percent rise in bitcoin that’s sparked immense investor interest in all things crypto has generated a new craze on the stock market.

Virtually every day an obscure microcap firm announces a corporate reinvention -- sometimes in name only -- that orients them toward the cryptocurrency or blockchain business. And why not -- the moves have paid huge, often immediate dividends.

Just one of Wednesday’s examples: Furniture maker Nova LifeStyle Inc. quintupled after saying it’s starting a unit called “I Design Blockchain Technology Inc.” The list includes juicemakers, gold miners and a designer of sports bras.

Here’s a rundown of what the new breed of crypto companies used to do before realizing nomenclature was a viable way to add shareholder value.

The Crypto Company

The now-halted stock is the product of a reverse takeover of Croe Inc., which was in the process of developing innovative sports bras.

LongFin Corp.

Prior to its acquisition of Ziddu.com, the firm described itself as a “U.S.-based, global FinTech company powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning,” an unilluminating mishmash of buzzwords. It bought Stampede Trade Pte., which operates in electronic trading and market making. LongFin CEO Venkat Meenavalli has insisted that members of the press “don’t understand what we do.”

Longfin CEO on CNBC

MGT Capital Investments Inc.

Originally intending to capitalize on John McAfee’s fame to spur success in cybersecurity, bitcoin proved a less volatile path to mammoth gains.

John McAfee, founder of McAfee Associates Inc. and chief cybersecurity visionary at MGT Capital Investments Inc.

Future: Blockchain Global Summit in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

Future FinTech Group Inc.

Formerly SkyPeople Fruit Juice, it still produces packaged food products. Though there’s not much evidence that the company has anything to do with cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology, shares rose more than 215 percent on Tuesday after CNBC anchor Dominic Chu called attention to its business.

Nodechain Inc.

Vapetek Inc., a developer of e-cigarettes and vapes, now owns computers it intends to use for crypto currency mining.

Intercontinental Technology, Inc.

“Smoke ’em if you got ’em” seems to be an apt motto for the increasingly widespread crypto rebrand among micro-cap companies. This one’s old name was Rich Cigars.

DNA Dynamics

A mobile gaming company that also owns the domain name www.medicalmarijuana-x.com recently bought a patent for a bitcoin ATM.

Riot Blockchain

Formerly biotech company Bioptix Inc., it still has the medical businesses but now also invests in cryptocurrency and blockchain.

Hive Blockchain Technologies

The only reason we can’t say the company went from mining bullion as Leeta Gold Corp. to mining bitcoin is because it never got beyond the exploration stage. Formerly Pierre Enterprises Ltd., formerly formerly Carmelita Resources Ltd., formerly formerly formerly Carmelita Petroleum Ltd.

Digital Power Corp.

The self-described “growth company seeking to increase revenues through acquisitions and organic growth” was a manufacturer of electrical supplies for the defense and medical industries before announcing plans to becoming a coin-mining juggernaut.

Blockchain Group Co Ltd.

This company sells traditional Chinese tea. Formerly known as Ping Shan Tea Group Limited, in December 2016 the board decided a shift “will demonstrate the group’s future strategy and the new name will establish a fresh corporate image and identity.”

Global Blockchain Technologies Corp.

Prior to its rebrand, the Vancouver-based company was known as Carrus Capital Corp. and owned a trio of Canadian penny stocks with a fair value 95 percent below their purchase price (as of July 31).

Marathon Patent Group Inc.

An intellectual property licensing and management company that’s buying a crypto miner.

BIG Blockchain Intelligence Group Inc.

Before the reverse takeover, Acana Capital Corp. (formerly Ameri-Can Agri Co. Inc.) bought and developed real estate and farming properties.

Social Reality Inc.

A digital marketing and data management company.

UBI BlockChain Internet Ltd.

The old JA Energy “was engaged in designing a suite of modular, self-contained, automated, and climate controlled units for distributed production of energy.”

Xunlei Ltd.

A cloud computing company.

360 Blockchain Inc.

Formerly 360 Capital Financial Services Group Inc., this firm’s C$42,500 in revenues earned during the six months ended June 30 came from financial advisory services, with business activities described as a mix of merchant banking, corporate finance, consulting, and investments in private placements.

Seven Stars Cloud Group Inc.

Formerly Wecast Network and before that, You On Demand, a video-on-demand service provider.

Siebert Financial Corp.

A retail stock brokerage and investment advisory firm.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the Decrypted  podcast:

— With assistance by Lily Katz

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