CryptoCurrencyWire Editorial Coverage: The cannabis market in the U.S. and worldwide continues to grow, but that doesn’t mean everyone is open to the idea of legal marijuana. The banking industry is one example, as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has generally been unsupportive of backing cannabis-related investments. Since marijuana hasn’t been legalized at the federal level, most banks are hesitant to have any part of the $6.7 billion marijuana industry. While many industry experts expect this stance to change amid growing support for a bankable marijuana industry, 70 percent of cannabis companies currently operate without access to a corporate bank account. Industry innovators are gearing up to fill this payments gap, however. SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile) recently announced an alternative payment solution in partnership with First BitCoin Capital Corp. (BITCF) to develop a bitcoin payment solution for the marijuana industry. Other major players on the rising bitcoin market include price-tracking Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) and a growing number of retailers, including Overstock.com, Inc. (OSTK) and mobile gaming company Zynga, Inc. (ZNGA), that are currently accepting digital currencies.
A lack of bank support hasn’t deterred SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) from aggressively expanding its market reach to the 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Demonstrative of its insight into the opportunities afforded by mounting acceptance and legalization of marijuana, SinglePoint recently announced its partnership with First Bitcoin Capital (BITCF), a leading provider of bitcoin technology, to create a viable payments solution for unbanked cannabis businesses.
Using “blockchain technology”, the solution will target high-risk payment verticals and enable customers to use their credit or debit cards at a medical/recreational cannabis dispensary – a capability that will benefit customers as well as the swelling number of cannabis suppliers and dispensaries across the nation.
“We are optimistic that our partnership with SinglePoint will produce positive cash flow to our bottom line. Between the two of our companies, we will have the ability to develop a best in class solution and SinglePoint will be able to help in distribution. We look forward to providing cutting edge products and services to all states through the establishment of this new venture,” Greg Rubin of First Bitcoin Capital stated in the press release (http://nnw.fm/7XlMo).
This isn’t the first time SinglePoint has undertaken significant integration. The company has successfully completed technology integrations with Twilio, RedFynn and IATS, as well as ATT, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, enabling SinglePoint to provide its text message marketing and text-based payment solutions. Leveraging this experience, along with First Bitcoin Capital’s expertise, the companies plan to develop payment technology that can be easily implemented into any point-of-sale machine through a simple download of the application.
SinglePoint, through its SingleSeed Payments subsidiary (www.SingleSeed.com), already has its roots as a payment solutions provider to the cannabis industry. SingleSeed Payments delivers tools and support specifically crafted to help cannabis businesses stay on top of key issues in the retail and recreational markets in order to build their customer base and develop effective strategies.
As SinglePoint continues to diversify its investment portfolio (http://nnw.fm/Ds3d9) – which includes a stake in Convectium, the manufacturer and distributor of an innovative equipment and packaging solution in the cannabis industry, and Discount Indoor Garden Supply (“DIGS”) – the company is proving its foresight into the demand for new capabilities and technologies such as digital currency and is also set to benefit from anticipated investments in cannabis (http://nnw.fm/i3WwI).
The demand for bitcoin isn’t only on the retail side, however. It is also gaining ground in the investment community.
Recently named to OTC Markets Group’s “OTCQX Best 50” for 2017, Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) enables investors to gain exposure to bitcoin’s price movement through a traditional investment vehicle, sidestepping the challenges of buying, storing and safekeeping bitcoins. Bitcoin Investment Trust’s shares are the first publicly quoted securities that are solely invested in and deriving value from the price of bitcoin. Bitcoin Investment Trust is sponsored by Grayscale, a digital currency group company, which is also a sponsor of the Ethereum Classic Investment Trust.
Digital currencies are on track to transform finance, and the potential application of this technology goes well beyond the cannabis industry and the borders of the United States. In Japan, for example, experts forecast bitcoin will soon be accepted in 260,000 stores. Though not on par with the pace overseas, more U.S.-based retailers are participating in the growing phenomena of “Internet money.”
Overstock.com (OSTK), in 2014, became the first major U.S. retailer to accept bitcoin. A brief two years, later Overstock began to issue stock over the Internet, becoming the first publicly traded company to do so. According to a December 2016 article at Wired.com, Overstock distributed more than 126,000 shares via bitcoin blockchain. Controlled by a global network of computers, this blockchain (an online ledger) isn’t controlled by any government or single company, which adds to its allure. It tracks all financial exchanges. In addition to money, it can track stocks and bonds as well. Blockchain shares are driven through a broker and other middlemen to satisfy regulatory requirements, making them not much unlike a stock offering.
Zynga (ZNGA) was also among the first to jump into digital currency. The mobile gaming provider, which was recently upgraded to an Overweight rating at Morgan Stanley, in January 2014 took note of rising popularity of bitcoin and, via Reddit, announced it would begin testing the currency as payment for in-game purchases. At the time, bitcoin was priced around $1,200. Today, one bitcoin is the equivalent to more than $2,715.
From consumer products at Overstock.com to high-risk verticals such as cannabis, digital currency continues to pick up momentum worldwide. With a nod to the need for payment solutions in the marijuana industry, SinglePoint is on track to become the preferred payment solution in the marijuana industry, which is predicted to grow to $24 billion by the year 2026, based on New Frontier projections.
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