How a Blockchain Startup Hopes to Take the Cannabis Industry Cashless

As the cryptocurrency conference Consensus heads into its second day, it’s clear that the buzz around blockchain will only continue to grow. The New York City event is welcoming 8,500 attendees and has raked in at least $17 million in ticket sales. These events tend to attract a lot of marijuana enthusiasts too, a friend in the cryptocurrency space recently told me.

Plenty of cryptocurrency startups are trying to enter the cannabis space, billing themselves as a way to help the industry’s cash problem: Thanks to marijuana’s Schedule I status, banks are wary of working with state-regulated businesses. Despite the U.S. Treasury Department’s FINCEN guidance to working with marijuana-related businesses, most major financial institutions are unwilling to take on the risk or the regulatory burdens. This leaves cannabis companies scrambling for the handful of credit unions and smaller institutions that are willing to serve the growing, multi-billion-dollar industry.

Blockchain payments platform Alt Thirty Six hopes to remedy this state of affairs by providing marijuana retailers a means to accept electronic payments. The company announced the hiring of Don Schroeder in April, whose work at First Data helped bring cashless payments to fast-food giants like McDonald’s. On Tuesday, the company is announcing a partnership with cannabis software company WebJoint.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.