High Times Accepting Cryptocurrency for its Equity Crowdfund
Cannabis-focused magazine High Times has announced that cryptocurrencies can be used to buy shares in the company’s upcoming equity crowdfund. It will be among the first to allow cryptocurrencies in a public fundraising in the United States.
UPDATE: High Times has removed cryptocurrency as a payment option for investing in the company.
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Trailblazing Cannabis Magazine Looking to Expand with Crypto
High Times, a New York-based magazine that covers cannabis culture and has advocated for the legalization of the leafy plant since 1974, is courting the cryptocurrency community by accepting bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) in its bid to become a public company. The outlet is looking to raise $50 million USD in an equity crowdfund to expand its media empire, which includes a magazine, website, events such as the Cannabis Cup festivals, and licensing deals. The magazine is looking to be the first company to accept crypto in a public equity crowdfund.
But though crypto can be used, the fundraising campaign is not an initial coin offering (ICO). Instead, the deal will be done via a relatively new form of equity crowdfunding under Regulation A+, which was created by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a U.S. law passed in 2012 but which only came into effect in 2016. The fundraising, which could be likened to a “mini-initial public offering,” will allow anyone in the world — not just accredited investors or Americans — to purchase shares in High Times, which cost $11 each, with a minimum investment of nine shares.
High Times CEO Adam Levin said in a statement that:
“Cryptocurrencies have created a new investor base across the world—we’re just giving them more stable opportunities for investment. Beginning with our Reg. A+ crowdfunding, we’ve been focused on giving everyone from retail investors to long-time fans more ways to own a piece of High Times. 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.”
Burgeoning Cannabis Industry Looks to Blockchain
The fundraising from High Times comes as the production and sale of cannabis is being legalized in jurisdictions around the world. While the Netherlands has long allowed for the sale of marijuana in designated coffee shops, the production of cannabis has been illegal, leading to a black market for supply. But that appears to be changing, with multiple cities in the country this month agreeing to join a pilot project which will allow for legal growth of marijuana plants.
Marijuana will also be legal in Canada in October of this year, after the government passed legislation ending its prohibition. And in the U.S., nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, though it still illegal at the federal level.
The cannabis industry has been looking to crypto and blockchain to develop itself with events such as the Crypto Cannabis Conference being held to discuss crypto-based solutions. Though bitcoin and other altcoins are being used for payments, obstacles such as user adoption and the volatility of cryptocurrencies still remain. Other firms are looking to use blockchain to create supply chains for cannabis production, something that corporate giants like IBM are also working on in other industries.
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