It’s no secret that the marijuana industry has been hampered over the years by the relative unwillingness of financial institutions to deal with weed merchants. The cannabis industry is growing every day bigger and bigger but farmers and dispensaries have a big problem when it comes to banking. Any money earned from the production or sale of cannabis is federally illegal.
The cannabis industry doesn’t have widespread access to banks, and conducting business with only cash has its risks. Dispensaries in states where the sale of cannabis is legal have been forced to explore alternative payment solutions as they are locked out of even the most basic tools of doing business, like opening a checking account and accepting credit cards as payment. Dispensaries often pay penalties for submitting taxes in cash, even though they are barred from opening lines of credit. And there are obvious security risks that come with handling and storing large amounts of cash.
While Bitcoin has become widely popular, there a few alternative cryptocurrencies just for the pot sector.
In early 2014, around the time retail cannabis stores opened in Colorado, news reports heralded the arrival of a digital currency for the legal cannabis market. PotCoin was one of the earliest cryptocurrencies for the marijuana industry. It was designed to solve banking problems for people looking to transact in legal marijuana. The currency was looking to capitalize on Colorado’s legalization of marijuana and even installed a PotCoin ATM at a marijuana dispensary in Colorado. The currency started relatively slowly, however; after initially reaching the $1 million market cap barrier in April 2014, it fell to $244,000 within a month. However, the currency failed to make a huge mark and remained in the shadows till June 12, 2017. A press release and a video of NBA star Dennis Rodman sporting a potcoin.com shirt in North Korea gave PotCoin a shot in the arm. Today, the company continues to enjoy a surge. PotCoin’s market cap is over $79.5 million, with each coin worth $0.362.
Another currency that came into being in 2014, but just a few months after PotCoin was CannabisCoin. It is a proof-of-work, peer-to-peer open source currency and like Potcoin was aimed at easing transactions for medical marijuana dispensaries. Like other notable crypto cannabis coins, CANN is benefiting from California’s marijuana legalization. While there are no specific expansion plans on the company’s website, however, it did announce an improvement to its security a few months ago. As at January 4, 2018, CANN’s market cap was $22.8 million, and one CannabisCoin was worth $0.296. Exactly one year ago, its market cap was just over $175,000, and one CANN was worth $0.002.
Paragon Coin is arguably the most exciting crypto cannabis coin of 2018, as it’s backed by some serious star power. The company was founded by tech entrepreneur and former Miss Iowa, Jessica Versteeg, and she’s since enlisted the help of rapper The Game. There are currently 100 million PRG coins in circulation, and every one of the 70 million that was available initially at the ICO were snapped up immediately. It has a market cap of $50.5 million as of January 4, 2018, with each PRG coin worth $0.778.
HempCoin also came into existence in 2014, although its focus is less on individuals using it to buy weed, and is instead designed to be used by the farming industry and medical/recreational dispensaries.
It’s interesting to note that HempCoin is used in all areas of agriculture, not limited to ones involving weed. As of January 4, 2018, HempCoin’s market cap was $122.8 million, and each THC was worth $0.53. A year ago to the day, its market cap was $81,290 and one coin was worth $0.000386. Currently, it has a circulating supply of just over 230 million coins.
he currency was developed in 2014 but transitioned to Proof-Of-Stake at block 370,000. As of January 2018, CannaCoin has a price of $0.45 and a market cap of $2 million. There’s a circulating supply of 4.7 million CannaCoins. A year ago, the market cap was roughly $55,000 and one CCN was worth $0.011.
In February 2014, DopeCoin was founded by Adam Howell or ‘Dopey’, according to its website.
Started with a vision of creating a ‘Silk Road’ for transactions in marijuana across the world, DopeCoin supply is limited to 200 million DopeCoins with about 117 million currently in circulation. The currency currently has a market cap of close to $23 million, according to coinmarketcap.com.
While both cryptocurrency and the legal cannabis industry are still relatively new, it’s not yet clear whether the two are a match. Do your research, and ensure the coin(s) you choose are capable of playing a viable role in the marijuana revolution that is already visible on the horizon. Crypto markets are notoriously volatile, so don’t let a spike in either direction spook you into impulsive decisions.