👮🏼 A Line In The Sand: Analysis of the Recent SEC Ruling

The SEC has taken the first step in what will likely be a strategic effort by centralized agencies to assert control over the future of financial technology by issuing their statement declaring the DAO a regulated security. Bitcoin users increasingly realize that the currency can be effectively traced and that blockchain technology actually makes their transactions permanent and visible rather than concealed. Certain ‘privacy coins,’ however, have been programmed to obscure this information and enable truly anonymous transactions between individuals.

This technology threatens the ability of the SEC and other centralized agencies to regulate and tax the use of currencies around the world. Having realized that they can’t audit the use of privacy coins, the obvious strategy will be to draw a line in the sand and scare people into staying on the “right” side by creating negative perceptions towards this technology.

Why Does Privacy Matter?

It’s important to keep in mind that just because buying illegal drugs has been the most visible use of Bitcoin so far doesn’t mean that Bitcoin doesn’t have important, legitimate uses as well, or that the privacy to buy illegal drugs is anything new. In many ways, privacy coins can be considered no more dangerous than cash. Cash can be traceable to certain extents but it can also be washed or hidden in similar, if less sophisticated ways than privacy tokens, and it has certainly been used to buy drugs for centuries.

Privacy coins have legitimate uses and what makes talking about it so tricky has to do with the fact that many of them lie in legal “gray areas.” While I certainly can’t condone lawbreaking, privacy coins can allow individuals access to money and financial services during situations in which they might not be available; political refugees or those in places where corrupt governments may have usurped the banking system. For all of the illicit drugs purchased on dark markets, a small portion actually serves the medical needs of individuals who can’t access certain products where they live.

Again, I’m not saying that bad people won’t use privacy coins for bad things but I am saying that privacy coins will not likely be stopped from proliferating and that exploring the appropriate uses and potential of the technology will go a lot further toward making the world a better place than scaremongering and fear tactics. As a society we should expect to see a decrease in tax payments once privacy coins proliferate and stabilize and we will have to figure out a way to deal with that when we come to it, but the forces of decentralization can’t be stopped and perhaps the potential of decentralized autonomous organizations to revolutionize our approach to governance could play a larger role in the future than any of us could imagine.

💰 The Ultimate Upcoming ICO Review: Starbase (STAR) – July 30, 2017 🚀

Starbase (STAR) is launching a crowdsourcing platform for decentralized fundraising and human resources management. The STAR token will be launched between September and December 2017 with ~2.5% annual inflation and be used to enable payments on the STAR network. The platform is due in January 2018. STAR will collect fees from the issuance of new tokens, initial sales, and when STAR is used to outsource labor on the platform. STAR also generates quarterly rewards.

The token sale begins on July 30 and payment will be accepted in Bitcoin and Ether. A minimum of $1,722,944 raised means $1 will get you 70.526 STARS, making STAR worth $0.014; above $5,318,834 means $1 equals 23.48 STARS or 1 STAR worth $.042. Contributions on day 1–7 receive a 20% bonus, 8–21 a 15% bonus, 22–35 a 10% bonus, and 36–42 a 5% bonus.

Founded by Tomoaki Sato with Yu Yamanaka as CTO, Ernae Luis and Gustavo Guimaraes heading up engineering, and Yasushi Sasajima as financial adviser.

Advisors include Eric Gu, founder of Viewfin; David Kurniawan, founder of REIDAO; Angel investor Chandler Guo; Dominic Williams, chief scientist at DFINITY and President/CTO of String Labs; and Hideyuki Takeuchi, Technology Adviser and CTO at Uzabase, Inc.


  • Distribution: Sale-dependent
  • Social Media (as of July 21, 2017): 18,094 Facebook followers, 24,400 Twitter followers, 52 LinkedIn followers


💰 The Ultimate Upcoming ICO Review: Rivet (RvT) – July 25, 2017 🚀

Rivetz (RvT) is a blockchain application (or ecosystem, in their words) incorporating a mobile wallet with cryptographically-secured chat, voice, storage, and cloud authentication functionality. The token sale begins on July 25, 2017 with a presale requiring a minimum 150 ETH purchase. 200 million tokens will be created with 70 million available in the token sale.

Cofounded by CEO Steven Sprague and CTO Michael Sprague with Sean Gilligan as lead engineer, Rivetz appears to have a strong team at the helm and a slew of accomplished advisors. Steven Sprague is also a board member at Factom and spent fifteen years as CEO, President, and Board Member at Wave Systems Corp. where Michael Sprague spent five years as the VP of Web Services. He was also formerly the president of Wavexpress.


  • Distribution: 200 Million Rvt (fixed supply), 35% Token Sale, 35% Future Use, 30% Marketing & Incentives
  • Social Media (as of 7/22/2017): 861 Facebook followers, 2,248 Twitter followers



Cannabis Currency Review Series: Grower’s International (GRW)

Grower’s International (GRW) is a cryptocurrency for legal cannabis growers and entrepreneurs that was announced on bitcointalk on 4/20/2017. I’m particularly excited about this project because I honestly initially believed it might be a scam since I couldn’t find much information about the developers and the ICO was to be hosted on Yobit, a scam-ridden exchange currently under investigation by the Russian authorities.

After relaying this to @madhatt, their new PR Rep (Congratulations and thanks for the updates!), I learned that the developers took the advice to heart and have decided to switch their launch to Bittrex! This “measure twice, cut once” mentality demonstrates exactly the kind of integrity we need to cultivate legitimacy and long-term growth in the crypto-sphere.

GRW stands out among the cannabis-themed cryptocurrencies I’ve come across by starting with an online retail shop for hydroponics and growing equipment you can pay for in Bitcoin or receive discounts for using GRW. Many cannabis currencies have focused on wholesale and retail cannabis purchases but getting people to adopt new currencies can be tricky without a clear, consistently superior reason to do so. GRW plans to offer equipment to GRW holders at the employee-discounted rate of 10% above cost and 20% of profits on all non-GRW purchases will be reinvested in GRW. The website launched on July 3 with over 12,000 products so go check it out!

Forked from the Crypto Circuit’s source code, the blockchain will operate on a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm with an 8-hour minimum stake time and 5% annual growth. Their ambitious roadmap includes an ICO, social media and marketing campaign, grower consultations, a licensed grow operation, a blockchain-based seed-to-sale tracking system, strain registration, and investment platform.

I do have one major criticism that has less to do with GRW in particular and more to do with the current state of cryptocurrency and ICO’s and my problem has to do with the general lack of recognition between a token with transactional value and a token with speculative value. Based on the currencies I’m currently aware of I would genuinely argue that the USD Tether coin to a lesser degree and Steem Dollars in particular have a better chance of actually being used to buy coffee ten years down the road than king Bitcoin or any of the other major digital currencies in circulation. Why?

People know when they buy Steem Dollars that the value will purposefully be kept at a given level. The ingenuity of Steemit splitting their currency between Steem, Steem Dollars, and Steem Power has to do with the ability of each asset to perform a given function. Trying to use a single token for both speculative and transactional purposes doesn’t make sense because we haven’t found a good way to balance those characteristics in a single token yet. Steem Dollars have transactional value, Steem has speculative value, and Steem Power maintains reputational value on the Steemit platform. If GRW issued two tokens – one representing speculative interest in Grower’s International as a business and one focused on transactions – I believe they would be much better positioned to service the legal cannabis industry.

That being said, I also wish the developers would share a bit more about themselves on the announcement but they certainly deserve a lot of credit for taking their time and having such a thorough plan. The legal cannabis industry has a plethora of opportunity for those who can help producers and retailers navigate the complexities of payment processing and banking through the gray area in which many cannabis laws have been enacted. If they continue on with the solid foundation they seem to be laying I expect great things from Grower’s International so make sure to keep an eye out for them!

Cannabis Currency Review: Cannabis Coin (CANN) 5/5

CannabisCoin is a cryptocurrency launched on 4/20/2014, intended for cannabis purchases at registered dispensaries. In October of 2014 CannabisCoin started the Yes We CANN program where medical dispensaries sell a supply of cannabis at a rate of one CannabisCoin per gram.

The coin has been backed by partnerships with growers who grow CANN-registered plants to supply dispensaries who sell limited amounts at 1 CANN per gram of weed. Dispensaries can sell non-registered plants from their own inventory using the current exchange rate for CANN. The team was based in Phoenix, Arizona but went dark around 2015 until a group resurfaced to try and rehabilitate the coin.

CannabisCoin’s is currently designed to be mined with consumer grade hardware using a proof-of-work consensus algorithm that did include a premine but it looks like they’ll be switching to a proof-of-stake or hybrid algorithm eventually. Coinmarketcap shows a market cap around $2 million with the price currently at $0.0256.

If you have any experience with CannabisCoin or information to share please feel free to comment below.



Cannabis Currency Review Series: Cannacoin (CCN) 4/5

Cannacoin is an open-source, decentralized cryptocurrency for the cannabis industry launched on March 28, 2014 with no pre-mine or ICO. Created by a cannabis network in Washington, U.S., the coin doesn’t seem to have had much development support this year but they can be found on facebook.

Cannacoin transitioned to a proof-of-stake velocity consensus algorithm with a sixty second block time and 2% staking interest on December 9, 2014 . The coin is currently listed on CoinMarketCap although I can’t find the coin on any exchanges. A wallet is available on their website and you can find their github here.

If you have any experience with CannaCoin or information to share please comment below, thanks for reading!

This is the fourth in a five part series on cannabis-themed cryptocurrencies. Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll be talking about CannabisCoin!

Decentralizing Markets Is More Important Than “Freeing” Them

Instead of focusing on whether a market is “free” or not, we need to start thinking about the degree to which a market remains centralized or decentralized. The feud between capitalism and socialism boils down to the role of centralized powers in a sustainable economy. Socialism tends to embrace centralization while capitalism fights to “free the markets,” which many capitalists see as a form of decentralization but often has no such effect because the freedom of markets allows for the freedom to corrupt markets through regulatory capture.

To the extent that consumers can only buy what businesses produce, and that businesses can only (legally) produce what governments will allow, the freedom of markets can only be a half-truth. We often mistake the freedom to do business with the relative freedom of the individuals involved in doing business. If freedom is power and absolute power corrupts absolutely then why should we believe that the individuals lucky enough to be freed by capitalism first won’t become as corrupt as any centralized socialist power centers? Power lends freedom but more importantly, power requires responsibility.

A sustainable economy requires maintenance, and that responsibility falls on all of us proportional to the power we have within it. Decentralized systems afford us a sort of luxury in that we don’t have to worry as much about startup costs and gaining a foothold in an industry because once we understand the incentives that align different economic systems and figure out how to reproduce them in a decentralized manner the institutions supporting the foundations of the industry will adopt them or perish. It’s not about subversion; just creating secure, legal systems tapped into the “free” market that have a decentralizing effect.



Cannabis Currency Review: HempCoin (3/5)

Hempcoin (THC)

Taking a different tact from other cannabis-themed coins, HempCoin is a digital asset designed to facilitate transactions between farmers, distributors, and dispensaries across the globe. Created in 2014 on Bitcoin’s source code, this coin is a 0% premined, proof-of-stake cryptocurrency that has been backed by shares of the publicly-traded Rocky Mountain Ayre, Inc. (RMTN).

HempCoin has their own wallet for windows and is available on Bittrex. The fact that they received backing from a publicly-traded company may be impressive but the lack of a roadmap or any evidence of use in actual dispensaries doesn’t inspire a lot of hope for the coin’s long-term prospects. Last year the company launched a marketplace but it doesn’t seem to be available on the website anymore.

If you have any experience with HempCoin or information to share please comment below, thanks for reading!

This is the third in a five part series on cannabis-themed cryptocurrencies. Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll be talking about CannaCoin!

Cannabis Currency Review: DopeCoin (2/5)

Cannabis Cryptocurrency Review: DopeCoin (DOPE)

DopeCoin is the world’s first decentralized, cannabis-themed digital asset providing a cryptocurrency payment and banking solution for the legal marijuana industry. Similar to POTcoin, Dopecoin bills itself as a secure, scalable, cost-saving financial infrastructure for cannabis businesses based on a proof-of-stake network paying 5% annual interest.

In 2015 DopeCoin started the GROW network, which allows Canadian cannabis growers to peg their cannabis plants to DopeCoin. An ultra-secure vault combined with stock/asset certificates will allow DopeCoin users to verify the existence of actual cannabis backing their investment.

It does not appear that you can actually buy any cannabis with DopeCoin yet but having a valuation system in place could be useful in helping the team scale the network for wholesale and retail transactions once legalization spreads. Their website doesn’t look quite as fancy as some of the others but like I mentioned in the previous article, the haphazard nature of legalizing cannabis by state creates plenty of space for multiple currencies to step in and serve multiple markets with payment processing and banking services.

DopeCoin hit an all-time-high around $0.05 recently before plummeting in the recent correction to around $0.02.

This is the second in a five part series on cannabis-themed cryptocurrencies. Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll be talking about HempCoin!

Cannabis Currency Review: POTcoin (1/5)

Cannabis Cryptocurrency Review: POTcoin

POTcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency payment and banking solution for the legal marijuana industry released on January 21, 2014 at 4:20pm. Based on proof-of-stake, the network bills itself as a secure, scalable, cost-saving financial infrastructure for legal cannabis businesses.

If you happened to see the news a few weeks ago you probably remember POTcoin as the group that a swagged-out Dennis Rodman back to North Korea to promote the currency, causing the currency to skyrocket to a 97% increase.

I have pretty close ties to the cannabis industry and I know that one of the largest hurdles facing legal cannabis businesses in the U.S. happens to be banking and payment processing because no bank with federal oversight can touch their money without breaking the law.

Not only does this create problems storing the large amounts of cash accrued by these businesses; most businesses still can’t accept credit or debit cards. This creates a world of opportunity for digital currencies, whether we’re talking about dispensaries accepting cryptocurrency payments or using cryptocurrency to facilitate transactions.

POTcoin hit an all-time-high at nearly $0.19 at the beginning of June and is down to $0.11 in the midst of the current correction but it’s difficult to imagine U.S. laws on cannabis to significantly change at the federal level in the next five years if not longer and so long as states have to deal with cannabis in their own experimental ways I see plenty of room for multiple cannabis coins to establish payment processing and banking services within various jurisdictions as more and more legal cannabis businesses enter the market. Colorado has seen resounding success in terms of cannabis sales and legalization will continue to reveal how much the authorities have underestimated the global cannabis market.

POTcoin’s got a great looking website with very useful information for getting startedwhether you’re just looking for a wallet or a merchant looking to accept potcoin. Have you tried POTcoin before? Please share your experience in a comment below!

This is the first in a five part series on cannabis-themed cryptocurrencies. Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll be talking about DopeCoin!