January 7, 2022

Crypto: Corporate Finance for Art’s Sake?

A company called Hygienic Dress League issued a press release earlier this week announcing that it was planning to raise capital through a Reg A+ offering.  You’re probably thinking that there’s nothing particularly newsworthy about that, right? Well, check out this excerpt from the press release, which explains that while HDL is legally a corporation, it’s actually an art form:

Hygienic Dress League (HDL), a legally registered corporation as a new and original form of art, today announced they have filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) for Regulation A+ exemption to issue securities. Today, HDL filed for a Tier 2 offering that, if approved, would allow for the issuance of up to $75 million of securities in a 12-month period. This would permit members of the public, subject to conditions, to participate in the offering. HDL believes this application is the first of its kind before the SEC.

Founded in 2007 in Detroit by Steve and Dorota Coy, husband and wife visual artists, HDL explores aspects of the human condition and contemporary society while challenging reality, truth, and belief systems through the framework of corporate activities. Thus far, HDL’s vision and exhibitions have manifested as TV commercials, public installations, fleeting out-of-home projections, and in augmented reality. HDL’s guerilla marketing and urban interventions have been experienced in 19 cities from nine countries across three continents.

At one point, the press release quotes one of HDL’s co-founders as saying that if the offering moves forward, “it will push the boundaries of art and finance, showing how the two merge and interact with each other. The goal is for people to ponder the nature of corporations, our concepts of value, and other seemingly permanent structures of our world.”

So, what is this new and original art form offering? NFTs, of course:

The first-of-its kind planned offering for participants will be for 600k non-fungible token (NFT) securities. Concurrently, HDL has begun minting NFTs representing “employees.” Each block of shares will come with its own unique NFT employee. After the planned offering, interested parties will be able to purchase certain HDL NFTs separately from NFT shares with the opportunity to sell them on open secondary markets.

I visited the SEC’s website and the only thing on file for HDL as of Thursday afternoon was a Form D for a $500K private placement. I suppose that, despite the press release, they made the filing for the Reg A offering confidentially. That’s a shame, because I’m dying to see this one.  For now, we’re going to have to content ourselves with exploring the wonders of the company’s testing the waters website.  As you’ll discover if you pay that site a visit, that’s not nothin’.

I do have one disclosure-related concern about this deal.  I’m not sure that HDL can back up its claims to being a new and original form of art that’s pushing the boundaries of art & finance. That’s because anyone who read WeWork’s IPO registration statement or followed the bizarre aftermath of that aborted deal knows that that Adam & the gang were way ahead of HDL in turning a corporation into a piece of conceptual art.

John Jenkins