Standing still (for too long) is a surefire way to get left behind. And cannabis companies definitely don’t want to stagnate — which is practically equivalent to losing consumer interest and dwindling business.
That’s why so many cannabis industry wonks, enthusiasts, activists, and others are craning their neck to see what the wide world of Web3 might have to offer. As with emerging technologies of the past, Web3 is an exciting new thing — possibly brimming with enriching commercial, educational, and entertainment opportunities.
And if cannabis consumers are staking claims this vast virtual environment — cannabizzes wanna be there, too.
Simply put, Web3 is the regular ol’ internet with the addition of some burgeoning technologies that evolve and transform the internet. Web3 and related technologies aim to boost the potential of the internet and improve user experiences.
It may help to think of it like this:(1,2)
Web3 embraces open-source code, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP). We’ll let you go down each of those rabbit holes on your own.
But, let’s take a look at some specific Web3 technologies that are enjoying their moment in the media sun….
If you like captivating digital and you adore your CBD- or THC-infused products, you’re prob gonna be a fan the new “new web” and potential it has for your beloved leafy green phytofriend.
Ready to delve in beyond the basic hype you’ve likely heard? We’ll briefly explain what each tech component is and then call out cannabis-related examples or use cases.(3,4,5,6)
A blockchain is a distributed and immutable ledger. That’s it. Instead of being a dusty leather-bound tome of yore, it’s a database in the cloud that anyone can look at. But, it works the same way — in the sense that transactions and information are recorded.
There are many, many blockchains — like Ethereum or Bitcoin. Some are general purpose, while others are specialized.
You may come across the terms smart contract and decentralized application (dApp). These are tools that work with, inform, or facilitate blockchain functions. Similarly, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) may use a blockchain to perform certain tasks.
Blockchains are essential to Web3 — it’s the underpinning decentralization and transparency.
Blockchains could help the cannabis industry in at least a few key ways:(7,8)
The first cannabis-industry blockchain platform was launched by CannaDAO in April 2022.(9) It’s likely not to be the last!
Cryptocurrency, or crypto, is a decentralized digital payment system. There are a ton of different cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin is probably the most famous one. (The Bitcoin currency runs on the Bitcoin blockchain.) Most cryptocurrencies use a blockchain to execute and record transactions.
Crypto just might grease some of the sticky wheels of the cannabiz. It solves some of the financial issues related to the cannabis trade by bypassing banks and providing a legal means of conducting business.(10) It could make it easier for you to get cannabis products.
While many cannabis retailers accept some of the popular mainstream cryptos, sector-specific ones — such as PotCoin, CannabisCoin, DopeCoin, and HempCoin — are sprouting.(11)
[IMAGE OF CANNABIS CRYPTO LOGOS?]
NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital assets — like videos, images, or membership badges. Their value is derived from their very uniqueness. One collection of NFTs that’s gotten plenty of publicity is the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
More often than not, buying, selling, or trading NFTs is:
All transactions are recorded on a blockchain.
Cannabis companies are doing more than just putting the fun into non-fungible tokens. They’re using them to reach new audiences, embark on social activism, streamline transactions, build community, and more. Perhaps one of the most promising applications is NFT certificates of analysis.(12,13)
While some of those Bored Apes feature primates taking their tokes, it’s not a cannabis-devoted NFT project like Crypto Cannabis Club. Arguably the best known of this genre, CCC dubs itself “the premier hub for cannabis connoisseurs and digital art enthusiasts.”
No, the metaverse is not synonymous with Facebook. The metaverse is a virtual universe that contains marketplaces, community spaces, and more. In this digital world, people can interact with each other and their environments.(14)
Some implementations of the metaverse use blockchains to distribute power so no single entity can control the whole thing. AR/VR and other technologies are often incorporated to create rich experiences for visitors.
In many respects, the metaverse is tying all these other things together. Cannabis companies are starting to open shops, host events, etc. in this network. They view it not only as a potentially captivating marketing platform, but a place to educate and engage with people.(15,16)
Only a handful of Cannabis businesses are in the metaverse right now. They’re using their simulated stores to interact with folks virtually (i.e., You can purchase cannabis products there.) as well as entice interaction outside the metaverse. Interestingly, these businesses indicate that they’re currently still facing many of the same challenges they face in their IRL or online shops.
It’s still the early days for cannabis in the metaverse. How it’s used by cannabis companies and consumers is sure to grow and change over time. Definitely something to watch!
Web3 is the newest phase of the internet. Using high-tech solutions — like blockchains and crypto — it strives to provide users individualized experiences that are immersive, transparent, and decentralized.
And cannabis makers, takers, and shakers all want in. The nature of Web3 means there are all sorts of emerging possibilities for cannabis companies and communities to thrive in different ways.
As such, be on the lookout for even more cannabis-related blockchain projects, cryptocurrencies, NFT collections. And be sure to stop by your corner dispensary next time you’re strolling through the metaverse.
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