The banking challenges in the cannabis industry are drawing a variety of solutions. One of those suggested solutions is the use of crypto-currency or bit coins. Jessica VerSteeg and her husband Egor Lavrov have created ParagonCoin, a cryptographic token similar to bitcoin. They have also created ParagonChain, a distributed ledger, which is also similar to Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that was pioneered by Bitcoin.
Paragon applies the ledger technology to the cannabis paper trail. The company said, “For example, a doctor could digitally sign a patient’s prescription, which a vendor could then verify at the point of sale. Or a batch of cannabis leaving the farm could be digitally stamped into the blockchain, leaving an indelible digital record of when it was harvested, shipped, and perhaps certified by an organic certification body.” The company said that the Paragon blockchain will also hold all data relating to doctor registries, marijuana IDs and prescriptions, and allow the end user to track the entire life cycle of his or her product, including strain DNA, origin, levels of THC/THC-A/CBD, and pesticide information.
ParagonCoin will begin trading on cryptocurrency exchanges in November of this year. At this time there are no dispensaries signed to take ParagonCoin. The company also has plans for a co-working space called ParagonSpace and startup accelerator for cannabis-related businesses called ParagonAccelerator. The accelerator will be for companies that use the Coin, Space or the online platform called ParagonOnline.
ParagonCoin isn’t the first company to propose using bitcoins for transactions. There’s also PotCoin and POSaBIT. Both come with extra fees to enact the transaction using the cryptocurrency. Most bitcoins charge a 6-8 percent fee, while POSaBIT charges a flat $2. Of course that’s on top of all the taxes the cannabis consumer has already paid.
VerSteeg has already tried her hand at one area of the cannabis industry with the luxury cannabis subscription box called AuBox. The box is filled with curated premium luxury items and is only available in San Francisco. A one year’s subscription costs $99. The price in ParagonCoin isn’t listed yet.
In addition to her cannabis entrepreneurships, she is a model, former Miss Iowa, and reality TV star having appeared as a contestant on the Amazing Race. She became interested in medical marijuana after her partner, Superbowl champion Tyler Sash, died from complications related to pharmaceutical painkillers.