Bitcoin Shop Inc. started trading Thursday – the first company with "Bitcoin" in its name to be publicly traded.
Bitcoin Shop Inc. is an online retailer that sells everything from appliances to gourmet goods; it accepts bitcoin as payment. The company that runs BitcoinShop.us merged with Nevada-based TouchIT Technologies Inc. in a move known as a "reverse merger." TouchIt then changed its name to Bitcoin Shop Inc.
Old TouchIt news releases describe it as a touched-based visual communications products company for use in both the education and corporate environments.
Bitcoin Shop shares currently trade on the over-the-counter market with the ticker TUCND. According to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, on March 5 shares get a new symbol: BTCS.
Shares closed at $3.31 Thursday, on volume of 6,151 shares. Friday, as word got out, the stock surged some 40% intraday to a high of $5.26. Shares of this Bitcoin penny stock were last trading hands up 30% to $4.30, on volume of 122,141.
Bitcoin Shop Chief Executive Officer Charles Allen told The Wall Street Journal the company raised $1.875 million from institutional and high-net worth investors in efforts to execute the merger and complete the listing. The decision to become public was to gain exposure and validity.
"We think it brings us legitimacy," Allen said.
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Indeed, the digital currency, which has grown presence and price, has been under scrutiny of late from global currency regulators. Critics' concerns are that the virtual currency, whose transactions are not recorded through the traditional banking system but across a decentralized peer-to-peer network, can be used to launder money or buy illegal goods.
But they're missing a huge part of the Bitcoin story…