CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: In a world where legal cannabis is rapidly becoming more mainstream, a vexing financial issue continues to haunt the businesses and consumers taking part in this multibillion-dollar industry; namely, what to do with all that cash when federally chartered banks can’t accept it and credit card companies won’t touch it. Marijuana is still a federally prohibited substance, after all, which makes businesses that handle the highly regulated plant outcasts when it comes to traditional banking methods. This aversion to risk, as defined by the banking sector, is actually a welcome opportunity for companies that cater to “high-risk” industries, such as the rapidly expanding and lucrative legal cannabis market. Among the top players enabling marginalized cannabis-related businesses and other high-risk industries to thrive are Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) (GOHE profile), Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG), CannaRoyalty Corp. (OTCQX: CNNRF), SinglePoint, Inc. (OTCQB: SING), and MassRoots, Inc. (OTCQB: MSRT).
Billions Upon Billions
While the legal cannabis industry may just be getting started in the United States, it is expected to generate nearly $57 billion in worldwide sales by 2027, according to a Forbes article quoting Arcview Market Research (http://cnw.fm/C7wd8). The adult use market for recreational cannabis will get the lion’s share of that spending — 67 percent — while medicinal cannabis gets the remaining 33 percent. And that’s just the beginning, according to Arcview’s analysis, with the largest group of those cannabis spenders coming from North America. These folks are expected to shell out $9.2 billion in 2017 and more than $47 billion a decade later. That, as Carl Sagan would say, is “billions upon billions” of big bucks.
Is Cash Really King?
Lack of access to traditional banking services means legal cannabis businesses and their customers are usually dealing solely in cash. Some cannabis dispensaries can conceivably do $1 million a month in business, attorney James Smith says (http://cnw.fm/XWWx4).
“You don’t want that to be cash,” said Smith, a founding partner at Smith, Costello and Crawford, a firm which represents cannabis companies. “The state doesn’t want it, the industry doesn’t want it, even the federal government doesn’t want it.”
Keeping large amounts of cash onsite raises the risk of theft or embezzlement and increases the cost of security measures. MoneyTrac Technology, Inc. (“MTRAC”), a partner of Global Payout, Inc. (GOHE), is taking aim at solving this industry-wide concern with a full-service banking solution powered by GreenBox blockchain technology. MTRAC’s payment solution offers cashless methods to process payments for consumers and gives business owners the ability to remit payments to vendors, employees and other business affiliates.
Key to Cashless™
Unbanked cash presents a host of problems for business owners and the states in which they are licensed to do business. Even Canada, which is poised to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use by the end of the summer, is struggling with the issue since many of its largest banks steer clear of the cannabis industry. That may change in Canada once full legalization takes place, according to an article in Marijuana Business Daily (http://cnw.fm/wQi0V).
But why wait for traditional financial institutions to solve a problem when several companies have been working hard to provide a solution? Global Payout’s MoneyTrac Technology specifically offers alternative fintech banking solutions to these high-risk industries in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“The goal of MTRAC from the beginning has been to leverage the different technologies available to us to remove the use of cash as the primary form of payment throughout the cannabis industry,” said MTRAC CEO Vanessa Luna in a news release (http://cnw.fm/xX6yC). “While other companies have struggled to find supportive financial solutions, MTRAC opted to take a different approach, and one that has relied heavily on the use of blockchain technology to address this problem for a massive and growing industry.”
Inside the Box
MTRAC’s revolutionary payment process for businesses operating across a wide array of alternative high-cost and high-risk industries utilizes closed-loop blockchain technology. Simply put, merchants and consumers are assured that currency moved into MTRAC’s system, either in the form of cash or through a debit/credit card via MTRAC Kiosk or a customer/merchant e-wallet, is converted to a digital representation of the currency’s value using secure, encrypted digital keys.
The MTRAC Kiosk, powered by the forward-thinking blockchain technology solutions offered by GreenBox, can be placed in any business that wishes to go cashless, making it simple and easy for merchants and customers alike to complete financial transactions. The concept is already generating buzz as MTRAC and GreenBox share their innovative payment solution with industry leaders in fields such as energy, water-tech, IoT, mobile and electronic payments, and security technologies (http://cnw.fm/z5UcA).
Several years ago, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a Financial Institution Letter aimed at encouraging depository institutions to serve their communities by taking a risk-based approach when considering customer relationships instead of declining to provide banking services to an entire category of customers. That was in 2015, and, to date, little has changed when it comes to whether banks and credit unions are interested in welcoming the cannabis industry with open arms. Out of more than 16,000 FDIC and NCUA depository institutions registered in the United States, a 2017 federal report on marijuana banking noted only 400 of the institutions currently work with marijuana-related businesses (http://cnw.fm/s3TXu).
Catering to these “unbankable” businesses is exactly what Global Payout planned to do in 2015 when MoneyTrac Technology Inc. was brought under the company’s banner. The goal, then and now, is to focus on the development of financial technologies that specifically address many of the challenges that enterprises in a variety of alternative and high-risk market sectors face in processing financial transactions. MTRAC may be one of the most configurable and intuitive financial technology platforms available to alternative and high-risk enterprises, providing solutions that effectively manage everything from pin debit and virtual currency to compliance and cash flow logistics.
Playing a Pivotal Role
MTRAC’s commitment to working with the burgeoning cannabis industry is illustrated by the company’s recent announcement that it has joined the National Cannabis Industry Association at its highest membership level. The NCIA connects organizations, builds networks and serves as an advocate for the cannabis industry nationwide. Advocacy is encouraged as the cannabis industry continues its push for legitimacy and legalization, the NCIA states on its website (https://thecannabisindustry.org/).
“NCIA truly represents one of the most important and valuable associations in our industry,” Luna said in a new release published on CannabisNewsWire (http://cnw.fm/bCD0N). “Their hard work and advocacy over the past 17 years has played a pivotal role in helping to pave the way for the growth and continued legitimacy of this industry as well as in being a crucial resource to the thousands of businesses, such as MoneyTrac, who are committed to conducting business the right way, in an industry that remains highly scrutinized.”
The Home Stretch
Canada’s push to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use is being carefully watched on many fronts. Canadian lawmakers are still in the process of fine-tuning and adjusting the legislation that many expect to be in full force by September. Canadians are being assured that the government is planning “orderly implementation nationwide” with an overriding policy goal of keeping cannabis out of the hands of children (http://cnw.fm/0jyV7).
Even if select Canadian banks decide to finance cannabis operations or purchases, many are concerned about jeopardizing their operations based in the United States, where cannabis remains illegal at the federal level (http://cnw.fm/4PkeV).
The launch of MTRAC’s full-service banking solution, powered by GreenBox blockchain technology, offers the cannabis industry and other high-risk sectors cashless payment options they desperately need, Luna said (http://cnw.fm/3neCm).
Joining the effort to provide cannabis dispensaries and related businesses with payment solutions is Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG). After working with targeted participants in the state-sanctioned cannabis industry, Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions has rolled out its payment system to serve the global medical cannabis and banking industry.
“This fully concludes our transition from development stage and government relations to revenue stage,” said Jeremy Roberts, CEO of Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions. “We’re excited to bring our services to the industry and to bring increased value to our shareholders.”
Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions was developed to solve a major problem in state-sanctioned marijuana: banking and cashless payments. The company’s cutting-edge payment solution allows consumers to buy items using U.S. currency and will soon allow Bitcoin, Roberts said in a news release (http://cnw.fm/lh4xO).
Building and supporting a diverse portfolio of businesses ready to grow in high-value areas of the cannabis sector is the aim of Ontario-based CannaRoyalty Corp. (OTCQX: CNNRF). These areas include research and brand development, devices and intellectual property. In 2017, CannaRoyalty co-launched Trichome Yield Corp. (“Trichome”) to be a preferred asset-backed lending partner to emerging and established Canadian and global cannabis companies.
CannaRoyalty also recently announced its acquisition of three California cannabis-related businesses: RVR, a large-scale distributor of both medical and recreational cannabis brands; Alta Supply, a smaller distributor of medical marijuana; and Kaya Management, a maker of edibles and vaporizers (http://cnw.fm/rU7cL).
Providing full-service mobile technology solutions keeps SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) in the spotlight as the company capitalizes on two high-performing market sectors: legal cannabis and cryptocurrencies. In a March 7, 2018, shareholder update, SinglePoint announced the soft launch of its SingleSeed Bitcoin payments solution. SingleSeed stands to address the lack of viable payment options for the cannabis industry by providing a user-friendly, easy-to-track transactional platform that enables merchants to accept non-cash payments (http://cnw.fm/dht1X). SinglePoint also recently announced the official launch of SingleSeed’s newly updated website, which is focused on selling cannabidiol (“CBD”) based products direct-to-consumer (http://cnw.fm/f9D4M).
MassRoots, Inc. (OTC: MSRT) has developed a technology platform for the cannabis industry and its users. The company’s technology platform enables cannabis consumers to join a social network, which is accessible through several portals and mobile apps. Cannabis enthusiasts can post reviews, follow their favorite dispensaries and stay connected with the cannabis legalization movement (https://www.massroots.com/). MassRoots recently formed a subsidiary focused on utilizing blockchain in the cannabis industry, which pairs well with the company’s marketing strategy of building technology platforms for the regulated cannabis industry. The company’s mobile apps have more than 1 million registered users.
The ongoing regulatory uncertainty that surrounds legalized cannabis in the Unites States. can be a divisive conversation among lawmakers, the cannabis industry and members of the public. It is a topic not likely to go away as more states consider measures to legalize cannabis in some form or another. One thing all parties can agree on, however, is businesses that work mainly in cash invite a myriad of problems. Reducing that risk by providing alternative cashless payment solutions offers safeguards traditional banking isn’t able or willing to give at this time.
For more information on Global Payout, Inc., please visit: Global Payout, Inc. (GOHE).
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