Following engagement with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Bitcoin Group has rushed to make some publically corrective statements ahead of its scheduled IPO in November.
Australia’s largest bitcoin mining operator has made two previous attempts to list on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), which were both halted by ASiC. The public corrections and retractions today are evidently being made at the behest of ASIC.
According to a statement from Bitcoin Group CEO Sam Lee, the first correction is was in regard to financial data that appeared first in one of Australia’s leading newspapers and then in other media.
In a Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article on 8 September 2015, the reporter referred to projected revenue forecasts for Bitcoin Group based upon a range of bitcoin values for the 2015-2016 financial year. The revenue forecasts ranged from $21.3 million to $63.7 million, and were apparently picked up and used by a number of media outlets in their reporting.
Lee stipulates that the projected revenue forecasts in the SMH article have no reasonable basis, as the “Replacement Prospectus”, issued by the company after two unsuccessful attempts to pursue an IPO, does not mention projected revenue.
Bitcoin Group’s second correction is actually a retraction of financial information that the company disseminated on its public WeChat account on 2 October 2015.
The Bitcoin Group’s posting, entitled “Is Bitcoin Mining really profitable?, made reference to the company’s profitability, operating and auditing costs, all of which the company now retracts for the following reasons.
- the Company’s profitability, which were potentially misleading and based on calculations contained in a draft Prospectus not lodged with ASIC or available to the public;
- provided profit calculations and operating cost estimates which did not reflect the profit and costs details contained in the Replacement Prospectus;
- made reference to auditing costs, when in fact the accounts of the Company in the Replacement Prospectus are not audited accounts.
The third correction is a clarification of the involvement of Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in Bitcoin Group’s IPO shares.
On 7 October 2015, Bitcoin Group posted on WeChat an article mentioning that Prime Minister Turnbull had bid for IPO shares in the company on that very day .
The reality is that Turnbull was taking part in the demonstration of an online platform that enables retail investors to bid on IPO stock. As a demonstration of OnMarket Book Build, Turnbull entered the first bid on behalf of the OnMarket’s CEO, Ben Bucknell, for shares in Bitcoin Group.
In today’s statement, Lee did more than clarify the matter. He stated:
Bitcoin Group retracts any suggestion that Mr Turnbull personally invested in the Bitcoin Group IPO.
Bitcoin Group wishes to ensure that actual or prospective investors do not make their investment decision in reliance on any materials or information not contained in the Replacement Prospectus.
It is evident that the use of social media and other press coverage has resulted in some additional difficulties for the bitcoin mining operator in reaching its IPO.
The original closing date for Bitcoin Group’s IPO was 30 October 2015. The company has now extended the IPO offer period to 13 November 2015. Once again delayed!
Bitcoin Group recently announced that it had raised more than $3 million on the crowd funding platform BnkToTheFuture.com.