If an investor had to pick two of the hottest markets right now with tremendous growth expectations, legal cannabis and cryptocurrency would certainly weigh-in right at the top of the list. It’s also important to remember that these industries are still in their infancy and have plenty of pain points that need to be addressed, which creates opportunities in and amongst itself. Like with so many other industries, technology is stepping in to solve problems and fill voids, in many cases building bridges to link the two together via innovative solutions like that of SinglePoint, Inc. (SING), a full-service mobile tech provider that, through investment and acquisition morphed into a diversified holding company with a portfolio of assets in these burgeoning industries.
Speaking with Equities.com at the end of July, SinglePoint CEO Greg Lambrecht already had his company positioned to establish a leadership position through the convergence of cannabis and blockchain. He said then, “They’re two hot markets. They’re both new and they both have a huge future, so we’re excited about it.”
Blockchain for Payment and Cannabis Tracking
SinglePoint is diving deep into blockchain technologies and applications to develop multiple products for seed-to-sale cannabis tracking, mobile payments, and POS software. Because blockchain uses a series of timestamps to create a virtually impenetrable pathway to move and track data, it is a perfect solution for the cannabis industry to forego conventional banking methodologies, deliver reliable data to companies and provide governments with precise information, so that they may monitor the industry and collect taxes. The company is quite diversified as well, with a portfolio of business assets, including the “picks and shovels” of the cannabis business through investments in JAG, DIGS Hydro and Convectium that are generating revenues today and others that are paving new revenue paths in the future.
SinglePoint recently announced that it has partnered with AppSwarm (SWRM) to launch mobile applications specifically tailored for the cannabis industry. The apps will be marketed under the SingleSeed moniker and built by AppSwarm. The goal is to launch one new app, a service-based application for the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) markets, by the end of January and follow that up with two more apps every three months thereafter. In that same lane, an app will be made available to consumers so that they can pay with cryptocurrency.
In a recent interview, SinglePoint President Wil Ralston said that developers are wrapping up turnkey cryptocurrency-enabled ecommerce software of subsidiary SingleSeed. The user sign-up portal is completed and a cart system has been added. Dispensaries are now able to upload product inventory, including photos, descriptions, etc. to the system, which will automatically log sales and provide adjusted inventory so the dispensary never oversells stock. Ralston says the developers are fine tuning the user interface and checkout experience, integrating accounting processes and bitcoin autotrading logic for payments for a beta system launch in the coming weeks.
The company’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has proven quite effective in generating sales via the SingleSeed platform, and SinglePoint anticipates this to be a promising channel to convert consumers to downloading its cannabis payment app.
Elsewhere, the company is focused on delivering technologies that can track product as required by the government and streamline efficiency, work flows and the consumer experience. While Bitcoin is a popular term, broadly speaking, there is still plenty of work to be done to simplify the purchase and payment process, areas that SinglePoint is addressing.
The Intersection of Cannabis and Cryptocurrency
Most analysts talk about the future of the legal cannabis market, including Cowen & Company forecasting the market soaring to $50 billion in the next decade from about $6 billion in 2015. While that’s phenomenal growth, what’s overlooked is that the nascent cannabis market was already $6 billion, making it already formidable in size two years ago. As cannabis remains a Schedule I drug at the federal level, financial institutions won’t touch money generated through the sales of cannabis-related products, regardless of the fact that the revenue is being generated in one of the 29 states that have already legalized marijuana for either recreational or medicinal purposes, or both.
That’s billions of dollars that are changing hands without the security of legitimate banking systems. That’s billions of dollars that those in the cannabis business, from growers to dispensaries to ancillary businesses and back again, must figure out what to do with aside from locking it up in a safe. This goes without mentioning making purchases necessary for operations when credit cards, debit cards and other traditional banking transaction processes aren’t allowed either.
Given fear of repercussions, banks are most certainly going to stand firm with their hands-off policy. The logical solution is cryptocurrency, the most famous of which is Bitcoin, with the hundreds of other similar digital assets commonly referred to as altcoins. The popularity of cryptocurrencies is best exemplified by the fact that the value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed over 800% in the last year, smashing through $7,000 for the first time on November 2 to print yet another all-time high.
Lending validation to the up-and-coming digital currency, the world’s largest exchange owner, CME Group, said it plans to introduce bitcoin futures by the end of 2017.
The fact that big business knows that in order to capture the greatest returns, they can’t avoid cryptocurrency and cannabis for much longer simply because of some controversy. Constellation Brands (STZ), the owner of Corona beer and Mondavi wine and major player in the alcoholic beverage industry, was one of the first to delve into the space, recently shelling out C$245 million to acquire a minority stake in medical marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED:CA).
To paint a clearer picture, the scene is a $6 billion industry colliding with a technology that is now worth more than $100 billion with major companies now making moves to enter the respective markets. It’s starting to feel like the floodgates are cracking open.
In this regard, SinglePoint’s consumer-facing approach is critical to rapid and sustained adoption, especially with respect to its initiatives in the digital payments and cryptocurrency arena. The strength and security of blockchain solutions are underscored by networks of people utilizing a system, so grassroots movements, such as the phenomenon that has happened with bitcoin is vital to expansion.
As the company continues to be a pioneer in the space on the forefront of technology that adds value to the industry, Lambrecht and team have all the more reason to be excited today.
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