CryptoCurrencyWire Editorial Coverage: Bitcoin is rapidly being adopted and accepted as a valid form of payment, with major retailers like Overstock.com, Microsoft and Subway (1) among several U.S. companies that now accept digital currency – or cryptocurrency – as a form of payment. Japan adopted bitcoin as an official currency in April 2017, which has been a major step forward for this cryptocurrency on a global scale. Savvy companies are rushing to profit from the growing acceptance of bitcoin, whether by aiding further accessibility or by applying digital currency as a payment solution for high-risk industries that are considered “unbankable.” Standouts in the bitcoin rush include ChineseInvestors.com, Inc. (CIIX Profile), SinglePoint, Inc. (SING), Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), BTCS, Inc. (BTCS) and Bitcoin Services, Inc. (BTSC).
One of the major attractions of bitcoin is that it facilitates the transfer of funds independent of banks and, therefore, cannot be regulated by governments. This is a major boon for industries like the rapidly growing legalized marijuana market, which is currently hobbled by federal restrictions in the U.S. that deprive it of FDIC approval and cooperation from banks. The majority of U.S. cannabis businesses have been forced to conduct cash transactions, which has been a serious hindrance, but the advent of bitcoin payment solutions could change everything.
One company making a bold foray into bitcoin as a solution for cannabis enterprises is ChineseInvestors.com (CIIX). A leading financial information website for Chinese-speaking investors, CIIX recently announced (http://nnw.fm/w3pbB) that Chinesehempoil.com Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiary, will now accept bitcoin payments. This will allow purchasers of hemp-based health products, foods and beverages, to use bitcoin alongside other, more common methods of online payment such as credit cards and PayPal.
CIIX is focused on becoming the leading publicly traded Chinese medical marijuana company. As part of this mission, the company is engaged in investing in the distribution and R&D of cannabidiol-based (CBD) medicines and health products to Chinese-speaking consumers across the globe. While marijuana use is currently illegal in China, cannabis-based oils are legal, which gives CIIX access to a market of nearly 2 billion customers in China. The company is also expanding its business presence to other countries and recently incorporated CBD Biotechnology, Inc. in British Columbia, Canada, to focus on R&D and distribution of health products, including hemp-based CBD, food and beverage items, in that country.
Other recent milestones include the launch of www.ChineseCBDoil.com in the free-trade zone of Shanghai. The first CBD health products online store to launch in the Chinese language, ChineseCBDoil.com went live on January 31, 2017. Concurrent with the website’s launch, CIIX debuted a Yelp-style social media app – the first Chinese language app of its kind – which features a database of cannabis dispensaries and marijuana strains. The app features a platform for reviewing and discussing cannabis products, maps showing the locations of marijuana dispensaries, and summary reports of marijuana business in Los Angeles and other major cities. The app has received approval from the Apple store.
Another company endeavoring to offer bitcoin as a payment solution for the cannabis industry is SinglePoint (SING). SinglePoint recently joined forces with First Bitcoin Capital Corp. (BITCF) to develop a proprietary bitcoin payment solution that can be downloaded directly to any point-of-sale machine, enabling marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis businesses to accept debit and credit card payments. SinglePoint believes it has found a means of applying bitcoin technology in a way that will make the credit/debit card payment experience seamless for customers at cannabis dispensaries. SinglePoint has already successfully completed technology integrations with companies like Twilio, RedFynn and IATS, as well as with major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, and intends to utilize these integrations in developing its bitcoin payments technology.
Other publicly traded companies tuned into the pioneering opportunities associated with bitcoin technology are fueling its widespread adoption. Digital currency play Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) was recently named to OTC Markets Group’s “OTCQX Best 50” for 2017. GBTC is a U.S.-based, open-ended grantor trust sponsored by Grayscale Investments that is exclusively invested in bitcoin. The company’s shares are the very first publicly quoted securities solely invested in and deriving value from the price of bitcoin, enabling investors to gain exposure to bitcoin’s price movement through a traditional investment vehicle and avoid the challenges of buying, storing and safekeeping bitcoins.
BTCS (BTCS) is an early mover in the blockchain and digital currency ecosystems and has been recognized as the United States’ first “pure play” public company to focus on blockchain technologies, which are the technologies that underpin bitcoin digital currency.
Bitcoin Services (BTSC) is another company helping to further the common acceptance of bitcoin currency. BTSC offers a bitcoin escrow service, which acts as a neutral third party between buyers and sellers in online transactions, holding the buyer’s bitcoins until both parties are satisfied with the transaction. Additionally, BTCS offers bitcoin mining services and blockchain software development.
As bitcoin gains ground as a valid and accepted form of currency, benefitting from high demand for convenient digital payment capabilities, savvy investors will do well to take note and look to enterprises like the named companies, which are at the forefront of this burgeoning digital currency.
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