CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: The price of bitcoin recently hit an all-time high of more than $7,800, edging closer to Goldman Sachs’ (NYSE: GS) forecast that the cryptocurrency will hit $8,000. This projection echoes increasing interest and application for cryptocurrency, as demonstrated by several public companies such as high-tech payment processing solutions provider SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile), which stands at the nexus of two roaring industries: cryptocurrency and cannabis. The widespread applicability of blockchain technology to multiple industries, combined with investor’s insatiable appetite for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has also lit a fire under sector players Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (HIVE:CC), Global Blockchain Technologies Corp. (BLKCF) and Bitcoin Services, Inc. (BTSC).
SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) in 2010 cut its teeth in payment innovations as a pioneer of payment enabled text messaging. But as CEO of SinglePoint, Greg Lambrecht recently explained in an interview, the company is not resting on its laurels and is making significant strides to stay ahead of the curve (http://cnw.fm/gH8Pw).
Earlier this week, the company announced the soft launch of a bitcoin exchange (app.singleseed.com) designed to solve the specific payment challenges in the cannabis industry. Recognizing that the cannabis payments space lacks a leading solutions provider, SinglePoint cites demand for convenience as the primary driver for building the app, which will process credit or debit cards – something unique to the cash-only transaction model currently used in the cannabis industry due to federal regulations and banks’ hesitancy to provide services to cannabis businesses. Through an easy-to-use sign up form and ID verification, SinglePoint’s exchange will enable customers to set up their account online beforehand or sign up within seconds directly at the point of sale.
“We are very pleased with what we have built out and executed on with this solution. SinglePoint now has a base to continue innovating on for the cannabis payments space. Businesses are contacting us daily about payment services and with this solution we feel confident we will be on boarding many of these customers. This is just the beginning of a solution that will ultimately serve cannabis businesses much beyond payments. The overall goal is to have a fully integrated solution for businesses to manage their day-to-day operations from beginning to end,” Wil Ralston, president of SinglePoint stated in the press release (http://cnw.fm/uE1c7).
The new solution can be utilized by any business from convenience stores to dispensaries in the 29 legal states and District of Columbia.
SinglePoint also utilizes an aggressive acquisition-based growth strategy, and has snapped up four cannabis companies in 2017 with two more in the hopper slated for acquisition before the year’s end. Given that credit card payment solutions are not currently viable for dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal, there is a significant opportunity within the multi-billion dollar global cannabis market for SinglePoint’s SingleSeed Payments subsidiary to solve the payment processing dilemma while fully leveraging cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Simultaneously, the company aims to deliver to the cannabis and other high-risk sectors the same transparency, ease of use, and situational awareness that blockchain is poised to deliver in other industries.
SinglePoint also recently signed an LOI (http://cnw.fm/qSm2a) with mobile app developer AppSwarm, Inc. (OTC: SWRM), to offer a B2B/B2C services app geared to the cannabis industry that will serve as the base for other productivity and workflow improvement applications. The AppSwarm LOI came soon after that company’s announcement (http://cnw.fm/ie67D) of a “last-mile” delivery app for local groceries and pharmacies, clearly demonstrating how SinglePoint understands perfectly the confluence of all these technologies, and how they will collectively reshape the world of retail.
Blockchain technology, as a decentralized (distributed) ledger that can track anything from cryptocurrencies and transaction records to RFID-tagged physical assets, is ideal for verification tasks. As such, the idea of a cryptographically secure ID verification platform like the one SinglePoint is rolling out, which not only allows users to sign up in seconds at the point of sale, but also provides bitcoin-powered convenience (which consumers have come to expect when making debit or credit card purchases), is something that should appeal to all parties in the space.
Regulators get the security of knowing there is a redundant and decentralized real-time record of production, shipments and transactions, while dispensaries get cheaper and better workflows, as well as improved marketing and the kinds of user experiences that promote repeat business. And consumers get a simplified, secure and easy to use purchasing regimen that is already familiar to them.
The same game-changing impact that blockchain technology is having on industries like banking, where it was recently estimated by Santander InnoVentures that the technology could save banks as much as $20 billion a year by 2022, will help to cement the still controversial cannabis market in the U.S. and around the globe. The logistical benefits of eliminating the need for a centralized authority, allowing engaged parties to rely instead on the power of the distributed blockchain and features like self-executing smart contracts, is something which could give the cannabis industry just the kind of inherent respectability it needs.
Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) certainly understands the potential for crypto and blockchain, given that it is sponsored by Grayscale Investments, which was established by the Digital Currency Group in 2013 and also sponsors the Ethereum Classic and Zcash Investment Trusts. As the first entity whose shares are publicly quoted securities, solely invested in and deriving value from the price of bitcoin, GBTC is a significant milestone for the crypto space. It is worth noting that Grayscale recently updated GBTC shareholders about plans to distribute the roughly 173,014 coins (units) of Bitcoin Cash held by the Trust. GBTC gives investors considerable exposure to bitcoin via a traditional investment vehicle with shares titled in the investor’s name and which can be bundled into traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and other brokerage/investor accounts.
Another key blockchain player is HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (HIVE: CC), shares of which hit a new 52-week high of $5.83 a share on November 3, alongside the recent spike of the bitcoin price. The company signed a binding letter of agreement in late October with Genesis Mining to complete a GPU mining facility for cryptocurrency in Sweden, a country with a solid track record for being pro cashless, and warmly embracing crypto. Anticipated for completion in late December, this new facility will increase the company’s already beefy Iceland-based mining capacity by some 175 percent, and bring HIVE one step closer to the company’s goal of bridging the gap from the blockchain sector to traditional capital markets.
Global Blockchain Technologies (BLKCF), a Canadian investment banking company focused on delivering a basket of blockchain-centric holdings to its investors, recently made a big push into crypto mining with entry into an agreement to acquire a 49.9 percent interest in novel, streaming model-based miner, Coinstream. The company plans to spin-out its pure play cryptocurrency mining division, Global Blockchain Mining Corp., and stands to acquire some 12,500 bitcoins over the life of the streaming contracts. An ingenious move given that Coinstream has put together 10MW of power in dedicated, purpose-built data centers in Manitoba, where energy is under $0.04/kWh. Looks like streaming contracts for future production aren’t just for the precious metals or commodity markets anymore.
Having climbed more than 900 percent year-to-date, Bitcoin Services (BTSC) is another good example of crypto-exposed share price appreciation being driven, in part, by the meteoric rise of the price of bitcoin. This bitcoin miner and blockchain software developer began mining the spend-anywhere digital cash known as Dash in Q1 2017 and recently created a new subsidiary, Crypto Capital, focused on implementing a crypto wallet solution. Bitcoin Services is also one of the instrumental bitcoin escrow service providers helping to keep the blockchain healthy.
Bitcoin rebounded nicely over the first two days of the week of November 13, trading around $6,600 after having been pushed down under the $6,000 mark over the weekend, amid the BCH hype and debut of Bitcoin Gold. With major tech players from IBM to Microsoft fully engaged in developing blockchain solutions for multiple industries and increasing interest pouring into the space across multiple cryptocurrencies from every class of investor, now is the time to comb through the smaller companies with compelling access to this sector.
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