The cannabis community faces unique challenges in doing business. Although in the United States the majority of states have legalized or decriminalized either medicinal or recreational marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level, which creates a number of problems for the industry. Dispensaries and marijuana retailers don’t have access to banking services. They can’t provide a card terminal, they can't make a bank transfer to wholesale suppliers. This creates a lot of problems, firstly related to security. Eight out of ten dispensaries have had at least one robbery attempt, because everyone is well aware that there's cash on site, and a lot of it. The federal courts are out of bounds for the cannabis industry, because on a federal level it remains an illegal substance. If you send money to a supplier and it doesn’t deliver your goods, you can't take them to court.
Likewise, the cannabis industry faces problems in online advertising: it cannot do business with traffic suppliers such as Facebook and Google, and accordingly there is a large problem with purchasing targeted traffic. The cannabis industry also has no access to loyalty programs, which is a very important marketing instrument in North America.
For the past four years, Toronto-based CannaSOS has been working on ways to overcome some of these issues, and their website has become a clearinghouse for information on the cannabis industry. The platform that they’ve developed already has more than 1,000 business pages and more than 315,000 registered cannabis purchasers.
Their latest and most ambitious project involves creating a form of cryptocurrency to make it easier for businesses to accept payments and pay their bills without doing all of their business in cash. The company is launching an initial coin offering (ICO) with a presale starting November 25, 2017. The cryptocurrency, which goes by the name of Perkscoin Token (PCT), will eventually serve multiple functions, allowing corporate settlements, acting as a loyalty program, facilitating advertising by cannabis industry companies, and serving as the means of payment in an online store.
There have been other attempts to solve these problems, but this is the first to be completely decentralized and rely on blockchain technology.
Andrey Shevtsov, CannaSOS's CTO and blockchain developer, explains the thinking behind this project: "When we designed a system for the cannabis industry, we recognized that the majority of people in this industry are either far from using cryptocurrencies at all, or are unfamiliar with them and don’t consider them to be a convenient means of payment. Price volatility is also a problem: imagine that all day you've been accepting payments in bitcoin at a high exchange rate, by evening it's fallen, and you need to make some purchases. Such a big spread creates a problem, and we solve it by creating a payment interface with a fixed token price tied to the dollar."
According to the project’s White Paper, it will be implemented in three consecutive and one continual stage. At the first stage, Etherium-based ERC-20 tokens will be issued. The newly issued PerksCoin tokens will be promptly integrated into the company's existing partners' infrastructure. The second stage will involve the design, development, and implementation of decentralized blockchain solution, including the Secure Sale feature, as part of PerksCoin Transaction Platform. At the last stage, the team will develop the auto-regulatory function involving issuing and withdrawal of PCT tokens from circulation to ensure the token liquidity. The continual stage will include the development of various infrastructure solutions, such as wallets for various devices, explorers for viewing blockchain, solutions for mining pools, etc.
Adds Shevtsov, "One not unimportant difference from our competitors is that we rely on a business that has been operating since 2014. Many of the elements that we are talking about already have functioning prototypes, for example the CannaSOS platform itself. It includes a fully operational advertising platform, which we will transfer to a blockchain basis – we are integrating our token into this advertising platform, which will make it possible to further extend this solution to other niches."
In carrying out this ICO, CannaSOS is being advised and assisted by ICOBox, the leading provider of SaaS ICO solutions. ICOBox's co-founder Nick Evdokimov says, "This is an exceptional project, which brings the benefits offered by blockchain and cryptocurrencies to meet the unique needs of the industry. Blockchain is a technology that is capable of changing all aspects of our lives, and communities that understand this and have learned to apply it will have a substantial advantage in winning an audience."
The ICO starts November 25 and will continue to February 28. Early buyers will receive a discount on tokens. For more information, see the company's website.