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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An ETF Shop Bets on Blockchain

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A publicly traded asset manager in Texas is making a bet on a cryptocurrency-adjacent firm.

Today Frank Holmes, CEO and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors [profile], confirms that his San Antonio-based ETF shop has made a strategic investment in Vancouver, British Columbia-based HIVE Blockchain Technologies. And Holmes has been appointed non-executive chairman of the HIVE board.

The U.S. Global Investors deal comes after several big changes at the firm now known as HIVE. On September 7 it completed a $16.5-million equity financing round, selling 55 million shares at $0.30 per share. On September 15, the firm (then called Leeta Gold Corp.) rebranded as HIVE Blockchain Technologies. Also on September 15, HIVE formed a strategic partnership with Genesis Mining and closed a deal to buy a blockchain data center in Iceland from Genesis. Then yesterday HIVE began trading under that ticker on the TSX Venture Exchange.

U.S. Global Investors has about 15.2 million shares of HIVE (directly and indirectly). If the September 7 pricing holds for U.S. Global Investors' investment in HIVE, then U.S. Global Investors has a $4.56-million stake in the company.

"We are excited to be part of this unique opportunity in the cryptocurrency space and having a first-mover advantage in bringing it to investors," Holmes states. "HIVE is creating new coins [i.e. mining bitcoin], with the goal of selling a portion of these and then banking the rest in order to manage this opportunity in a fast growth industry." 

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