第一家被起诉的是在纳斯达克上市的“区块链”公司Riot Blockchain，Inc.，纳斯达克股票代码：RIOT。诉讼方指出，该“区块链”公司、其高管及其中一位主要股东违反了《美国1934年证券交易法》。在2017年10月之前，Riot还是一家名为Bioptix,Inc的生物技术公司，主营业务是对兽医诊断工具进行开发。10月4日，Bioptix宣布将改名为Riot Blockchain，并将其业务重点转为投资区块链技术。该指控称，正是由于被告的虚假陈述和疏忽，Riot股票价格因人为炒作而飙升。
该诉讼称，被告做出虚假和误导性陈述，并未披露与Riot业务和运营相关的重要不利信息。具体来说，该指控称被告未能透露更名的真实原因，而是想借“区块链”这一热词将该公司与最近热涨的加密货币联系起来，以激起投资者的热情。在缺乏区块链主营业务的前提下，该公司还进一步推进了其控股股东Barry Honig及同谋的内幕计划，即以人为炒作而飙升的价格出售该公司股票。据了解，当时Barry Honig及同谋已在某种程度上控制了Riot及其经营决策权。
公司原名为长岛冰茶的Long Blockchain Corp.（纳斯达克股票代码：LBCC）已收到纳斯达克通知，公司股票即将被从纳斯达克退市。美国证券交易委员会文件还显示，纳斯达克正在撤销其对Long Blockchain Corp.的事先通知。在2017年6月之前，该公司名称是长岛冰茶，在改名后的一天内股价上涨432％时，并因此“声名大振”。
Adding “Blockchain” to the name of their firms have proved to be very beneficial to the top management of publicly listed companies over the past year. However, this tactic also attracted negative attention from regulators, and now two Nasdaq firms are facing additional troubles.
Class Action Lawsuit Against Riot Blockchain
Riot Blockchain, Inc. (NASDAQ:RIOT) has been hit with a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida. The complaint charges the company, its officers and one of its major shareholders with violations of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Before October 2017, Riot was a biotechnology company known as Bioptix, Inc. that specialized in the development of veterinary diagnostic tools. On October 4, Bioptix announced it was changing its name to Riot Blockchain and shifting its business focus to investing in blockchain technologies. It is accused that as a result of defendants’ false statements and omissions, the prices of Riot’s securities were artificially inflated.
The complaint alleges that defendants made false and misleading statements or failed to disclose adverse material information regarding Riot’s business and operations. Specifically, the complaint alleges defendants failed to disclose that it had changed its name to Riot Blockchain in order to generate investor enthusiasm and tie the company to the recent rise in the price of cryptocurrencies, despite its lack of a significant blockchain business in order to further an insider scheme that would allow Riot’s controlling shareholder Barry Honig and his associates to sell their Riot securities at artificially inflated prices. In addition, according to the complaint, Honig and other investors were effectively controlling Riot and its operations and exerting undisclosed influence over the company and its CEO.
Long Blockchain to be Kicked Out of Nasdaq?
Long Blockchain Corp. (NASDAQ:LBCC) has received a notice from Nasdaq stating that it had determined to delist the company’s securities. SEC documents also show that Nasdaq was revoking its prior notification to Long Blockchain. Prior to June 2017 the company was called Long Island Iced Tea, and gained notoriety when its stock price increased by 432% in a single day after rebranding.
The company has the right to appeal Nasdaq’s determination but even if its appeal is approved, Long Blockchain will still need to regain compliance by April 9, 2018. In order to do this, the market value of the company’s listed securities must remain at $35 million or more for a minimum of ten consecutive business days. If Long Blockchain does not regain compliance by such date, the company’s securities would again be subject to potential delisting.