The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has temporarily suspended the trade of UBI Blockchain Internet securities due to doubts cast on the firm's recent market activities.
Hong Kong-based UBI Blockchain Internet Ltd. (UBIA), was once an energy firm which apparently developed modular, self-contained, automated, and climate-controlled units for distributed energy production.
In 2016, the company changed its name from JA Energy to UBIA and now touts "Blockchain technology, the Internet of Things, biomedical technology, and stock capital market technology [which] focuses on food and drug safety issues."
UBIA filed a claim with the US regulators which said the company is developing a product "to trace a food or drug product from its original source within the context of the Internet of Things to the final consumer."
The company, which was unable to file its annual 10-K filing by SEC's deadline in 2017, has now garnered suspicion.
According to a SEC filing (.PDF) published on 5 January, the Chinese firm's securities trading have been temporarily suspended due to questions raised related to UBIA's business operations.
"The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of UBIA because of (i) questions regarding the accuracy of assertions, since at least September 2017, by UBIA in filings with the Commission regarding the company's business operations; and (ii) concerns about recent, unusual and unexplained market activity in the company's Class A common stock since at least November 2017," the agency says.
In December, UBIA shares suddenly jumped from $9 per share to $87 per share. The firm's share price has now settled at $22 at the time of writing.
It is also possible that a recent sales bid by the firm's executives has prompted this action by SEC.
Top executives at UBIA, including CEO Tony Liu, plan to sell a further 72.3 million shares -- but the executives will profit from this sale, rather than the company.
There is no clarity in terms of the firm's apparent products or whether or not any promises related to food and drug tracking have been fulfilled.
However, with the current Blockchain hype, it seems investors are willing to take a punt anyway -- despite the firms having no product, no revenue, and less than 20 employees. Despite these concerns, UBIA's market cap has reached close to $810 million.
The trading suspension will remain in place until January 22, 2018.