Weedmaps founder CEO Justin Hartfield does not think Bitcoin will help to grow the legal marijuana industry, a claim contrary to what many in the Bitcoin space claim.
Weedmaps, the online legal marijuana community, allows users to review and discuss cannabis strains and local dispensaries. The website garners two million monthly visitors with annual revenue of approximately $18 million. Widely considered the industry leading website, Weedmaps founder CEO Justin Hartfield has a unique point of view on the industry. Hartfield recently told CCN that he does not believe Bitcoin will help the cannabis industry.
“Here’s the thing – say you sell a bunch of weed, and your customers pay you in Bitcoin,” Hartfield told CCN.
How the heck are you gonna cash out millions of digital coins into tens of millions of United States Dollars?
“We need this multi-billion dollar industry out of the shadows and into the light and banking is the first crucial step to that maturation,” he adds.
The comments contradict what many in the Bitcoin industry have publicly stated. For instance, Trees CEO Marshall Hayner recently told CCN that Bitcoin is exactly what the marijuana industry needs, though the industry might not be primed.
“The industry is about $2.5 billion dollars, and there is not a single banking partner in sight,” Hayner said at Coin Congress 2015 in San Francisco. Hayner had big predictions for the marijuana industry. “Big tobacco is about $35 billion per year. It’s looking like cannabis will be $10 billion by early next year,” he said. Although Hayner expressed an overall opinion that the marijuana industry will need Bitcoin, he doesn’t’ believe the time is now.
The Trees CEO said:
Bitcoin is just a technology, but in its early phase, it is still too nascent to ask for the cannabis industry to adopt.
Read More: Trees CEO on Marijuana and Bitcoin
The comments by bitcoiners come as marijuana dispensaries struggle to find banks who will hold their funds. A Colorado credit union, designed to serve the cannabis industry, had its application recently denied by the US Federal Reserve and the National Credit Union Administration.
On July 2, the National Credit Union Administration wrote that the marijuana industry “does not have an established track record of success and remains illegal at the federal level.”
“We thought it was a good model,” said Andrew Freedman, marijuana adviser to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
It’s an under-banked industry, and that’s a problem not just for them but for the people of Colorado.
Even Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen believed for a time Bitcoin could revolutionize the legal marijuana industry.
“Legal marijuana industries could possibly be one of the big industries for bitcoin,” Andresen said. “It gives marijuana growers a way of charging customers that does not involve cash.”
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