Binance Hires IPO Heavyweight as CFO, Fueling Rumors the Exchange is Going Public

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has recruited an executive with wide experience in initial public offerings (IPOs) as its chief financial officer.

Wei Zhou, who is currently the vice chairman of gay dating platform Grindr, boasts of executive experience running into more than one-and-a-half decades. He began his career at the Hong Kong subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, where he focused on investment banking.

A graduate of Harvard University,where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics and East Asian studies, Zhou has particular expertise in growing and scaling business operations in the United States and China. Additionally, Zhou has served as the chief financial officer of both Charm Communications, a Chinese TV advertising firm, and, China’s second-biggest online recruitment services platform, managing to lead these firms into successful listings on NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), respectively.

Initial Public Offering

This has led to speculation that, with the hire, Binance is preparing for an IPO. However, the cryptocurrency exchange’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, has denied this while not dismissing the fact that the relatively young cryptocurrency sector could benefit from the fundraising model.

The hiring of an ex-Goldman Sachs employee is not the first time in the recent past that a cryptocurrency firm has recruited an executive with experience from the traditional finance sector. As CCN reported earlier this month, for instance, Japanese crypto startup FXcoin announced that they had recruited a former foreign exchange dealer at Deutsche Bank, Yasuo Matsuda, as the firm’s senior strategist. Interestingly, the founder of the Japanese crypto startup, Tomoo Oshi, also has a background in traditional finance, having worked as the head of currency sales at the same German banking giant from which he poached his latest hire.

Regulatory Compliance

Towards the end of last month, U.S. cryptocurrency firm Coinbase announced that it had hired Jeff Horowitz, an alumnus of Bank of New York Mellon, to lead the company’s global compliance efforts. Prior to the new position, Horowitz held the position of global head of compliance and managing director of Pershing, a subsidiary of the firm. Horowitz had also worked at other traditional banking giants such as Salomon Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Citigroup.

In making the appointment, Coinbase argued that with the growth of the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector more attention needed to be paid to the compliance efforts that were increasingly becoming complex across the globe.

“Hiring Jeff is recognition on our part that navigating compliance complexities on a global scale requires a concerted, cross-functional effort, guided by leaders with experience that spans policy, financial services, and corporate governance,” wrote the president and COO of Coinbase Asiff Hirji, as CCN reported at the time.

Author: Mark Emem 
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High Times Now Says It’s Accepting Crypto Payments For Its IPO

It turns out that the cannabis publication High Times is accepting cryptocurrency for its ongoing initial public offering (IPO) after all.

The publication announced at the beginning of August that it would accept bitcoin and ethereum for its IPO, but later walked back that announcement in an August 13 filing submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as previously reported by CoinDesk.

Despite the move, however, bitcoin appears to have remained as a payment option on the company’s investment page.

When reached for comment, High Times representative Jon Cappetta confirmed that the company is, in fact, accepting bitcoin and ethereum as payment options. Cappetta told CoinDesk that the regulatory filing was made “to make the SEC happy.”

“Yes, technically we are accepting bitcoin and ethereum,” Cappetta told CoinDesk. However, High Times is not taking or holding any cryptocurrencies – rather, a third-party processor called Fund America is taking the two cryptocurrencies and converting into U.S. dollars, which the company will then receive.

“On the legal side, it’s a lot of jargon. There’s no real easy way to spell it out. They issued the release to make the SEC happy,” he said.

He explained:

“We’re accepting [cryptocurrencies] as a payment option, but technically Fund America takes the bitcoin and ethereum … It’s similar to the way if we were doing an international IPO, and we were accepting the pound or the euro, those guys aren’t accepting that money, they’re converting it to [dollars].”

The reason for the earlier walk-back was due to concerns expressed by the SEC after the company initially said it would accept bitcoin, which mainly revolved around whether High Times would directly receive cryptocurrencies, he said.

“The reason we got slapped by the SEC last time is because we were accepting it … similar to a credit card processor … [however], it gets transferred to cash and we get that, we’re not explicitly holding [cryptocurrencies],” he said.

High Times’ IPO itself is going well, Cappetta said, and the company is looking at a direct listing as a result.

“The Regulation A [fundraising] is going to close on the 12th of this month, and then from there we will begin the listing process,” he said.

Hat tip to Scott.

Author: Nikhilesh De 
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Bad Trip: Pot Company High Times Backtracks on Accepting Bitcoin in IPO

High Times Holding Corp, a New York-based media group advocating for cannabis usage, has decided against accepting bitcoin in its initial public offering (IPO), according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dated Aug. 13.

The SEC filing states that the initial announcement made two weeks ago, in which the company had said it would accept cryptocurrencies for its IPO, was “distributed in error.”

At the beginning of August, CCN reported that High Times was accepting cryptocurrency for its IPO — which it claimed would have made it the first stock offering ever to accept investments in digital assets.

According to the report, the offering was compliant with SEC Regulation A+ — a framework which allows small businesses raise up to $50 million of funding — and it also stated that the company had begun receiving cryptocurrency investments.

At the time, High Times CEO Adam Levin had said the company was “taking another step into the future” by making it possible for investors who own cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum to be part of the “public capital raise.” Levin went further to describe cryptocurrency as the currency of the future that has “created a new investor base across the world.”

The Aug. 13 filing with the SEC runs contrary to the announcement made two weeks ago. The company has now rescinded its statement about accepting bitcoin as a form of payment from investors for stock in the company.

The new filing reads, “This press release was distributed in error as the Company will not be accepting bitcoin as payment for shares. As provided in the Company’s subscription agreement related to the offering, the Company will only be accepting check, credit card, ACH or wire transfer as payment for subscription to shares.”

While the recent filing doesn’t reference ethereum, which was mentioned in the initial announcement, it is safe to assume they won’t be accepting that asset either.

Cryptocurrencies are seen by many as an alternative to cannabis-related payment issues that makes it difficult for customers to make purchases with their credit or debit cards. The industry suffers from hostility from the banks and has become a target for thieves due to the large amount of cash kept on site.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

Author: Jimmy Aki
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Cannabis IPO Brings New Opportunities For Crypto Investors

When the New York-based pro-cannabis magazine High Times now moves to become a publicly traded company, it aims to make history as the first company to accept cryptocurrencies as payment from new investors.


According to an article published in the same magazine on Thursday, High Times CEO Adam Levin said they hope the addition of cryptocurrencies will “enable a much broader group of investors worldwide” to participate in the initial public offering (IPO), which is planned for the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Ahead of the IPO, the company is already selling its shares in equity-crowdfunding process at a price of USD 11 per share, while minimum investment is USD 99.

The report did not provide any other details about the upcoming IPO.
“High Times has been at the forefront of popular culture for more than four decades,” Levin was quoted as saying in the article, adding that “now we’re taking another step into the future, not only as one of the first cannabis-related brands to go public on the Nasdaq but also as the first to allow Bitcoin and Ethereum as part of our public capital raise.”

The magazine went on to explain that although they had ruled out doing an initial coin offering (ICO) as a way to raise money, “it would be foolish to leave this emerging investor base out […]”

High Times, which has been a mouthpiece for the pro-cannabis community since 1974, further claimed that “with a magazine and online presence still going strong, many are eager to grab some shares.”

The revenue of the company stood at USD 14.6 million in 2016, while its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) was USD 600,000, according to the company.

Also, if High Times succeeds with its IPO, this could help crypto adoption, as the IPO market is measured in billions of dollars. For example, the US IPO market rebounded in 2017 as 133 domestic companies went public raising USD 30.4 billion, 33 more IPOs and 79% greater value than the previous year, according to Mergermarket, M&A intelligence, data and research company.

Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

Author: Fredrik Vold
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