The iced tea company that pivoted to blockchain finally hired a board member with crypto expertise as it fights fraud accusations

  • Long Blockchain has been warned twice that it could lose its spot on the Nasdaq exchange if it fails to raise its market value to $US35 million.
  • The former iced tea company has been accused of misleading investors and profiting from the explosion of interest around cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
  • Loretta Joseph, an Australian who chairs the country’s digital currency advocacy group, has joined Long Blockchain’s board.

Long Blockchain, formerly known as The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation, finally has a board member with some blockchain expertise as it fights accusations of fraud.

The company on Wednesday announced Loretta Joseph, an Australian blockchain consultant with experience at major banks throughout the world, would join its board. Joseph, who is currently in Tokyo, confirmed the news to Business Insider.

She will join the company’s six person board as the first with blockchain experience, alongside four beverage industry veterans, as well as CEO Shamyl Malik who joined the company from Citigroup in February, and Sam Ghosh, an entrepreneur with experience in trading at Deutsche Bank and UBS.

Her pay will be $US30,000 per year as well as $US35,000 worth of stock, regulatory filings show.

Long Blockchain has come under fire twice from the Nasdaq exchange on which its stock is traded. Nasdaq first threatened to delist the company after its market value fell below $US35 million in November. Pivoting to blockchain saved it the first time by boosting its market value above the Nasdaq-required $US35 million, but the new second delisting notice may prove harder for the company to avoid.

On February 21, Nasdaq accused Long Blockchain of making “a series of public statements designed to mislead investors and to take advantage of general investor interest in bitcoin and blockchain technology.”

The company’s market cap is currently $US30 million. It must maintain a market cap above $US35 million for 20 business days to avoid delisting, according to Nasdaq policy.

Long Blockchain is currently pursuing a merger with New Zealand-based Stater Blockchain. A letter-of-intent filed in January lays the framework for Stater, which also owns a UK-based brokerage known as Stater Global Markets, to become listed on the Nasdaq exchange without pursuing a traditional initial public offering, or IPO.

Long Blockchain did not respond to a request for comment.

“Loretta brings an exceptional record of achievement in global financial services and Blockchain advocacy, and we are fortunate to have her as a member of our Board,” CEO Shamyl Malik said in a press release. “She embodies the type of individual we are seeking to help lead our continuing progression towards developing scalable and sustainable Blockchain solutions for the global financial markets.”

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