This is an extract from Martin Vander Weyer’s ‘Any other business’ column, in this week’s Spectator.
In a week that felt rather starved of exciting business stories — the fat cats were evidently too busy packing for Davos — an unknown called Stapleton Capital, previously described as a telecoms investor, notched up a brief 130 per cent spike in its share price by changing its name to ‘Blockchain Worldwide’ and announcing that it has ‘seen a number of very exciting blockchain opportunities in recent months’ even if it has yet to buy into any of them. This brilliantly simple device — the cunning name change, not the cryptocurrency payment system — was road-tested last month by New York-based Long Island Iced Tea Corp, which more than tripled its share price after regenerating as ‘Long Blockchain Corp’ and announcing an instant change of focus from cold beverages to hot crypto-fintech.
Meanwhile, there’s Coinsilium, first mentioned here two years ago, whose shares (listed on the Nex exchange) have advanced from 3p last October to 16p this week. Coinsilium is an ‘accelerator’ of early-stage blockchain ventures that has succeeded in building a portfolio of actual investments and has even sold one of them, SatoshiPay, at a 363 per cent profit. So there’s real business going on in the sector as well as tomfoolery reminiscent of the worst of the 1990s dotcom boom; and there’s real potential in blockchain technology, distinct from the crazy world of Bitcoin. It’s all highly speculative territory, but at least it offers moments of brightness for a dull January.