Medical and recreational cannabis is big business in several states, but dispensaries and customers are increasingly only able to accept and use cold, hard cash as banks refuse credit accounts for fear of federal prosecution.
But two software developers say they are working around that problem by creating the first digital currency targeted specifically for state-legal pot businesses.
The first company, PotCoin, is taking a pretty cloaked stance as of right now, only discussing their product in vague terms. Developers go by names like “MrJones” and “SmokeMan” to the media and say they’ll have more when they unveil in April.
The other company, DopeCoin, is a little bit more transparent – though not by much. “Dopey”, one of the developers, said he hopes his product can be used across the board at dispensaries and grow shops in the U.S. and abroad – but he also expects it will be accepted by major online retailers like Overstock.com.
“We’re the bad boys of cryptocurrency,” Dopey told The Huffington Post, which broke the story. “I would never advocate illegal drug use or any illegal activity to do with this currency. This is a digital currency created by the people for the people and what people do with it has the same consequences and responsibilities that they would have for the American dollar.”
“Dopey” says his currency would elminate the cash-heavy nature of dispensaries, leaving them safer by making them less-likely targets of robberies. It also cuts out banks entirely.
“”It takes away the cash storage issue, it takes away the issue of banks as the only secure way to handle your currency,” “Dopey” says.
Both products are intended to give users privacy and keep would-be watchful eyes away from their purchases. Notably, the system has built-in masking features that mix a user’s coins with other users’ coins.
But PotCoin’s developers say they aren’t targeting people who want to do illegal actions with their product.
“We’re building a network database for merchants to allow them to optionally link users with accounts. This can facilitate insurance claims and down the road, doctors’ prescriptions,” said one developer “Bottom line, if you are a bad person doing bad things, PotCoin is no place to play, and obviously if a crime has been committed, our cooperation will be swift.”