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Fintech startup hits buzzword triple play with bitcoin, weed

January 4, 2018 GMT

(Bloomberg) -- Blockchain. Fintech. Marijuana.

A little-known startup has combined three of the year’s hottest buzzwords into a single business goal: allow customers to use bitcoin to pay for weed products.

That’s Glance Technologies Inc.’s plan after inking a deal to license its mobile-payment platform to a company called Cannabis Big Data Holdings Inc., which plans to distribute massage oils, soaps and lip balm to cannabis dispensaries. Fobisuite Technologies Inc., which makes hardware that allows retailers to accept cryptocurrency as payment, is also part of the deal.

“We’ve found an effective way of combining blockchain with big data and cannabis,” said Cannabis Big Data Chief Executive Officer Rob Anson in a statement Thursday. Glance Technologies shares rose 2.4 percent to C$2.10 in early trading.

The move is part of a larger trend that has seen small firms rebrand or reorient their businesses toward cryptocurrencies, marijuana or fintech in an effort to cash in on the torrid investor love affair with the new businesses. Microcaps previously involved in sports bras, fruit juices and teas have made the move and been rewarded with spikes in their share prices.

While Glance combines all three, it’s not the first time cannabis and crypto have crossed paths. Marijuana growers and sellers in states that have legalized pot still can’t access traditional financial institutions because the plant remains a banned substance by the U.S. federal government, forcing merchants to deal exclusively in cash. That logistical headache and constant security threat has forced many to turn to bitcoin.

The legalized pot industry was dealt a blow Thursday after a report that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind policies allowing for the expansion of legal marijuana without federal intervention.