Bitcoin has come a long way since it was announced in 2009. We have seen the number of users, price and value grow significantly in the last eight years. It’s now on the right path to becoming a universally accepted method of payment considering the number of businesses that are accepting it. Merchants from all industries around the world in a bid to gain a competitive advantage are declaring their support for Bitcoin as a method of payment. This is the case with traders in Washington State, where Fintech startup POSaBIT is enabling its customers to buy cannabis via Bitcoin. Well, we have seen Bitcoin buy a lot of stuff, but legal cannabis is unheard of.
Washington State has had its history with cannabis. In 1923, it criminalized the use of cannabis but later in 1998, 59% of its voters approved an initiative to permit patients with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana. Fourteen years later in 2012, 56% of its voters voted in favor of Washington Initiative 502 on marijuana reform. This initiative legalized small amounts of marijuana related products only for adults aged 21 years and over. Although Washington State is one of the states in the US which has legalized Marijuana, banks are still very cautious when dealing with this substance.
Most marijuana stores in Washington state are cash-only, with a few exceptions where a cashier is allowed to run the customer’s debit card through a cash register. POSaBIT has, however, decided to help dispensaries solve the problem of having to handle large amounts of cash and at the same time providing payment options to customers. With POSaBIT, it’s easy for customers to acquire Bitcoins at any point-of-sale and then make purchases immediately or at any other store that accepts Bitcoin. POSaBit CEO Ryan Hamlin speaking to Seattle Weekly said that he saw an industry in dire need of a credit solution and called this service a “Bitcoin kiosk solution.”
But one may ask — how does it work? POSaBIT will allow its customers to buy Bitcoin with a debit or credit card and after that give them an option of sending the Bitcoin in the spot. It’s quite simple on the part of the users because they will only need to hand their cards to the merchant to be swiped, authorize the transactions and finally sign the tablet’s touch pad. POSaBit is currently available at the following cannabis companies namely: Uncle Ike. Herb House, A Greener Today and Queen Anne. So when paying at these cannabis dispensaries that are accepting this service, customers will be required to carry out an additional step, which is the automated Bitcoin purchase.
Some good news to Bitcoin users in Washington State is that they have an option of buying POSaBIT kiosk at the stores and spent it elsewhere without using any third party apps. POSaBIT has provided a win-win situation for customers and store owners. Store owners will no longer have to deal with the problem of handling large amounts of cash while customers will now be able to use cash, credit cards, debit cards and Bitcoin to buy cannabis.