Category Archives: Jack Clayton

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Ripple’s xRapid Launch Low-Key as Company Joins New Coalition

Ripple has slipped in the launch of its new xRapid product without the accompanying fanfare which usually greets such events.

The xRapid tool is designed to accelerate Ripple’s cross-border payments network, so news of its impending release impacted on the XRP price with almost instant effect, taking another small jump as the product went live. Payment providers Mercury FX and Cuallix were earmarked to use the service, along with cooperative financial firm Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union. Asheesh Birla, Ripple’s senior vice president of product commented on the launch:

“I’m really excited to bring the product into the market at a time when there is a lot of skepticism about digital assets and their real use case.”

Ripple receives plenty of flack from cryptocurrency investors who feel that the centralized nature of the XRP is not in keeping with the original concept of digital currency which was completely based around decentralization and user transparency. Ripple maintains that there is a clear distinction between it, a private company, and XRP, which is the digital currency of an open source network known as the XRP Ledger, a fact which causes some confusion.

In other news following the launch of xRapid, Ripple is leading a new caucus called Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition (SAIV) in order to promote cryptocurrency. Three companies with links to Ripple have joined the coalition including Hard Yaka – a digital assets investment firm and PolySign – a financial services company seeking to act as a crypto custodian. The fourth member of the group which includes Ripple Works Foundation is Coil, a company developing digital payments solutions.

SAIV have hired a DC-based lobbyist firm Klein/Johnson Group to promote their work, which is principally aimed at warming both the government and the SEC towards innovative emerging technologies such as cryptocurrency rather than adopting a punitive stance.

Klein/Johnson will be paid USD 25,000 and XRP 10,000 for their services which, according to Ripple’s executive chairman partly paying in crypto, “gives them some upside and gives them some risk… Hopefully, it gives them a taste of the industry in a way that hits home”.

The industry still awaits some clarification on cryptocurrency from the SEC which has provoked a flurry of delegations to Washington in past months, notwithstanding letters to the SEC from crypto pioneers and members of the US Senate. Many think it’s past time that the regulatory body looked more carefully at the stance it took this June when SEC chair Jack Clayton said that it had no intention of making changes to existing legislation to accommodate digital currencies.

 

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Company Gets SEC Attention After Adding “Blockchain” to Working Title

The SEC has subpoenaed Long Blockchain after changing its name and seeing its stock rise dramatically by 289% in December 2017.

Long Blockchain Corp is an American corporation based in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York. Its wholly-owned subsidiary Long Island Brand Beverages, LLC produces ready-to-drink iced tea and lemonade under the “Long Island” brand. The company was formally known as Long Island Iced Tea Corp before using crypto’s basic foundation to promote its “globally scalable blockchain technology solutions”.

This has, unfortunately for the company, drawn the wrong kind of attention from the SEC and has resulted in the company canceling its plans to raise several million dollars through a stock offering and purchase 1,000 Bitcoin mining rigs. A company spokesperson said:

“The company is fully cooperating with the SEC’s investigation… The company cannot predict or determine whether any proceeding may be instituted by the SEC in connection with the subpoena or the outcome of any proceeding that may be instituted.”

Long Blockchain was removed from Nasdaq in April after being accused by the exchange of misleading its investors, resulting in it failing to retain the minimum value to validate it remaining on the exchange. Having shot up to USD 70 million after losing the “iced tea” handle and adding blockchain to its new company name, it is now down to a value of about USD 5 million.

An amusing reference by chance in January was made in an SEC address when Chairman Jack Clayton that the SEC might look into any company “dumb enough” to change its name to “Blockchain-R-Us” and then sell stock without “providing adequate disclosure… about those changes and the risks involved”. He said at the time:

“The SEC is looking closely at the disclosures of public companies that shift their business models to capitalize on the perceived promise of distributed ledger technology and whether the disclosures comply with the securities laws, particularly in the case of an offering.”

That statement does appear to be pointing a finger in a certain direction. Long Island Iced Tea Corp changed its name or “business model”, as Clayton might prefer to call it, in November 2017.

 

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