SEC Suspends Trading of UBI Blockchain Following ‘Unexplained Market Activity’

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended trading of shares of UBI Blockchain. The regulator has issued the suspension based on[1]:

“(i) Questions of the accuracy of assertions…regarding the company’s business operations; and (ii) concerns about recent, unusual and unexplained market activity in the company’s Class A common stock since at least November 2017.”

The company’s stock surged from $9 to $87 in just one week last December, according to CNBC[2], before returning to $22 today.

Rising tide lifts all boats

UBI Blockchain is one of several companies whose stock price has benefited from the Bitcoin and Blockchain craze that has swept the markets. The company, which intends to use Blockchain technology to “trace a food or drug product from its original source” surged from 55 cents in February 2017 to trade as high as $115 per share.

The company, originally JA Energy, changed its name in 2016 and reached a market value of over $800 mln. This would not be at all strange, except that UBI Blockchain has never earned any revenue and the phone number it uses for regulatory filings is disconnected.

Taking it in stride

CEO Tony Liu seems to be taking the trading suspension well, saying:

“[The SEC’s decision is] understandable due to the recent frenzy of buying stock related to the Bitcoin phenomena.”

Liu went on to add:

“We believe the general public is confusing our Blockchain technology with Bitcoin companies [even though we have been] involved in Blockchain technology for well over two years before the Bitcoin buying frenzy took place and we plan to be in business for years after the Bitcoin buying anomaly ends.”

Not the first

UBI Blockchain isn’t the first company to benefit from a Blockchain-related name change. Earlier this month, Long Island Iced Tea saw its stock quintuple in value[3] following a name change to “Long Blockchain.” Likewise, a small company called Longfin[4] saw its value surge 13-fold following its announcement that it was acquiring a defunct cryptocurrency.

Nor is UBI Blockchain the first stock to face a trading suspension by the SEC. The regulator halted trading of The Crypto Co. back in December citing similar anomalies in trading. Shares of The Crypto Co. had risen 2,700% in a single month, according to CNBC[5]. The suspension ended on January 3, and the stock is down nearly 70% from its previous highs.