We Implemented Cryptocurrency In Our Cannabis Business. Here’s What We Found. – Green Entrepreneur

March24, 20205 min read

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If youre a cannabis entrepreneur, you already know that banking and payment processing are major issues in the cannabis industry.

There are limited payment options if you sell CBD.It is magnitudes more difficult if you are selling THC-centered products.

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Last year, banking issues in the cannabis industry reached the national spotlight when NPR published the aptly-titled article Bags Of Cash, Armed Guards And Wary Banks: The Edgy Life Of A Cannabis Company CFO.

Once (or if) you can find a bank to work with, your bank account runs the risk of being shut down at a moments notice.

Then, you face the challenge of payment processing. Its more difficult for startups with no payment processing history to obtain one. And if a payment processor decides to ban you, your business will be left temporarily unable to accept credit cards.

On top of that, processing fees in the cannabis industry are significantly higher when compared to traditional commerce. We are talking between 4 percent and 6 percent, triple the average of other industries.

A solution is on the horizon.

An emerging, immature, and often misunderstood Bitcoin cryptocurrencytechnology was unleashed on the world in 2009.11 years later, it hascome a longway. Bitcoin can be bought and sold in every country. Mainstream financial channels like CNBC and Bloomberg have teams dedicated to Bitcointechnology.

The promise is appealing. You can be your own bank. No more frozen funds. Transactions cant be censored and the fees cost next to nothing. Plus, payment processing cannot be shut off, unlike traditional banking.

RELATED:Coronavirus Spikes Demand For Cannabis Delivery As People Stockpile Products

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum intend to solve the problems faced by high-risk banking industries. Its worth noting that on a dark web marketplace known as the Silk Road,thenumber oneproduct sold (by far) was marijuana. The Silk Road is now defunct, but when it was still functioning back in 2011, it showed that Bitcoin has a role to play as a digital currency.

Is cryptocurrency a viable payment solution for your cannabis business?

Like many new technologies, cryptocurrency is not easy to understand. The complexity is where most people lose interest.

Heres something to think about:Most of us do not know how the internet works.Transferring data via "packets," the interaction of protocols like TCP, SMTP, and HTTPS, its all quite detailed under the hood. But this does not prevent you from shopping online, sending an email, or reading this article.

Our company hadprior experience with cryptocurrency, so it made the decision easier than it would be for other cannabis entrepreneurs.

Now that you want to enable the payment option, you have to get set up.

To acceptonline payments, we used the free tool Coinbase Commerce, which integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce and most major platforms. It took us about 30 minutes from signing up to having it live.

We were set up and ready to go, except for one thing: customers.

If you spend even 15 minutes interacting with the cryptocurrency community on Twitter, Reddit, or anywhere else, youll quickly see they are a passionate, enthusiastic (albeit tribal) group.

By sharing a few links on Reddit channels, we received cryptocurrency orders on the first day.

The most interesting and effective part was our charity initiative. By using cryptocurrency to cross borders and feed people in Venezuela and South Sudan, two countries with extremely limited banking options, it showed a fundamental advantage cryptocurrency holds over traditional banking.

RELATED:Cryptocurrency and the Allure of a Cashless Cannabis Industry

It sparked some sales and press for our startup. A few CBD stores reached out to us asking how they could accept cryptocurrency.Even our coffee supplier is open to receiving Bitcoin.There is a lot of underlying interest in the cannabis industry, but they are primarily spectators who arent sure how to participate.

After a few months of time has passed using cryptocurrency, it has been a positive experience. We think all cannabis companies should consider accepting Bitcoin at their business. Keep in mind, cryptocurrency orders are only a small fraction of our total orders. Thatshould be expected at any cannabis company. Your dollars will not turn into Bitcoin overnight.

Thats not to say there arent some drawbacks to consider. First off, if you use Coinbase Commerce, youll have to manually convert your cryptocurrency back into U.S. Dollars. There are services like GoCoin that do this for you for a 1 percentfee (still a lot cheaper than credit card processing).

Second, if you have storefront locations, the cashiers will have to know how to accept payments. AnyPay offers a free POS app, but like any software, it still takes some time to learn.

In the coming years, cryptocurrency has the potential for exponential growth, and there are perks to being an early adopter.Id encourage you to be skeptical of experts who dismiss cryptocurrency in its early days.Remember, Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, once predicted: "By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's.

Cryptocurrency will not be a magic bullet for your business. But in an industry that has an uncertain banking future, why not offer your customers an additional payment method and get some free press in the process?

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We Implemented Cryptocurrency In Our Cannabis Business. Here's What We Found. - Green Entrepreneur

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