Kiwi businessman Eric Watson's company changes name to Long Blockchain, shares skyrocket

Lucy Bush
December 24, 2017

Watson, whose fortune was estimated at $420 million in the National Business Review Rich List this year, entered into an agreement in early 2015 to merge his USA dairy farming venture Cullen Agricultural with the Long Island Iced Tea corp.

Long Island Iced Tea, a Hicksville, New York, manufacturer of iced tea and lemonade, said it plans to ask the Nasdaq exchange to change its trading symbol from its current "LTEA", but didn't disclose what it wants the symbol changed to. "The Company will continue to operate Long Island Brand Beverages, LLC as a wholly-owned subsidiary", it wrote. But that all changed on Tuesday morning, when the company announced in a press release that it would rebrand as a blockchain-technology company.

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Other companies which previously focused on making sofas, sports bras and mining for gold have also changed their names and image to include references to bitcoin.

The new trend brings to mind the dot-com bubble of the late nineties, when companies tried to boost their stock price and encourage investment by to the end of their names.

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Firms like Long Island Iced Tea (which this week declared that it would rebrand as "Long Blockchain Corp"), Riot Blockchain and LongFin are down, according to available market data. Thursday morning. The beverage maker announced it would shift its business toward blockchain-the underlying technology behind cryptocurrency that makes it secure-and its stock soared by some 200 percent. Long Blockchain so far has little to show for its aspirations. Yes, the iced-tea company had formally pivoted to blockchain. It has no agreements with any blockchain firms, and says "there is no assurance that a definitive agreement with these, or any other entity, will be entered into or ultimately consummated".

This move comes at a time when established financial bodies are looking at ways in which blockchain technology can be used.

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