Building a Community-Focused, Cannabis Blockchain Platform
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BLOCKStrain Technology Corp. (TSXV:DNAX) is a full-service software company currently launching a comprehensive, blockchain-based platform to serve the cannabis industry. BLOCKStrain’s solutions enhance efficiency, validity, security and visibility for cannabis breeders and growers. It is the first cannabis genetics and licensing archive platform that also plays a role throughout the supply chain, from gene-to-sale.
- First mover in the space with expectations of being in the market by summer 2018;
- Launching a blockchain-based platform for tracking, licensing and archiving genetics of cannabis plants;
- Automated platform that is integrated into Health-Canada approved cannabis-testing facilities, cutting red tape and administrative expenses by 50% for all required and optional testing;
- Strategic partnership with WeedMD, a licensed producer in Ontario with a significant genetics library;
- Upcoming reverse take over (RTO) of Scorpion Resources Inc) (TSX-V: SR-H-X) pending TSXV approval
- Platform can be integrated with most current and legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems;
- Open Source platform to be publicly accessible, transparent and community oriented;
- In partnership discussions with Canada’s provincial and territorial governments;
- Management team with varied and extensive experience in technology and cannabis sectors.
An Innovative Blockchain Solution
Built within its own unique blockchain or distributed ledger technology, the BLOCKStrain platform will be deployed as a solution for licensed cannabis producers (LPs), as well as licensed craft growers and will host several potential revenue streams. On the one hand, it will serve as a booking system for all required and optional testing of cannabis throughout Canada. Through its platform and partnerships with testing labs, participants can expect to cut red tape in half in terms of administrative overhead currently associated with testing. By streamlining the process, producers can get their product more quickly to market, helping to meet the increased demand of legalization.
As a second offering, it will also act as a way for cannabis breeders to log their genetic strains in an environment that immutably verifies the source of the strain and removes the need for a patent. This is important for future collaborations and innovations, that will lead to more products and choice for consumers.
That leads to the third offering: The platform will act as a secure marketplace in which LPs can license their strains to other growers. To do this effectively, the blockchain platform will incorporate contractual elements that protect both parties and ensure the LPs ownership of the genetic strains being licensed.
Lastly, focusing on visibility and transparency within the cannabis supply chain, BLOCKStrain will provide a blockchain-based tracking system that gives growers and regulators the knowledge of where plants are at any given time in the gene-to-sale process. To do this effectively, the platform will integrate with all tracking / logging systems across the supply chain, and will take into account the jurisdiction’s regulatory framework. This approach will provide collaboration between all parties involved in the supply chain in order to communicate when issues may arise.
The company has been doing a significant amount of work in ensuring that the platform can integrate with all modern or legacy ERP systems that too often are unable to ‘talk’ with each other. Acting as a central source, or “smart-hub” for information, the BLOCKStrain platform will implement targeted efficiencies in the cannabis supply chain, reducing costs and time spent.
In March 2018, WeedMD Inc. (TSXV:WMD), an Ontario-based licensed producer which has a robust and expansive library of genetics, announced that it had made a strategic investment in BLOCKStrain Technology Corp. As part of the agreement, WeedMD invested $500,000 and will be the first company to integrate the BLOCKStrain blockchain platform into its ecosystem.
“We are thrilled to have the strategic support of WeedMD in the development and launch of our technology-based solutions,” said BLOCKStrain CEO Robert Galarza. “Our platform brings the best aspects of blockchain technology into the cannabis industry in order to protect the intellectual property of producers, while giving customers visibility and transparency. By utilizing BLOCKStrain, WeedMD can now expand its library of world class genetics while building customers’ trust in the quality of the products they are purchasing.”
An open-source offering
As an early mover in addressing key problems within the cannabis industry with blockchain solutions, BLOCKStrain will open-source its technology, giving access to consumers, providers, grow facilities, software developers, major supply chain platforms and others to build their own apps and solutions. In this way, the cannabis community as a whole can use BLOCKStrain’s platform to communally drive technology and innovation in the industry.
Navigating multiple regulatory environments
The company is in the process of launching its innovative, community-focused platform and has plans to release it by mid-2018, to coincide with the legalization of the recreational marijuana market in Canada. Understanding that the sale of cannabis in the Canadian market will be regulated in part—and in slightly different ways—by each individual province and territory, BLOCKStrain has been in discussions with regional government entities so as to be able to incorporate the various regulatory aspects into their platform.
The company is also in partnership discussions with these governments to make BLOCKStrain the go-to technology platform for cannabis tracking, licensing and genetics archiving.
Management team with vast industry experience
BLOCKStrain is led by a team of executives who bring extensive and varied experience from the technology and cannabis sectors. The team includes Tommy Stephenson, who has delivered technology solutions to Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft and YouTube, and was instrumental in the rebuild of Weedmaps.com, the flagship cannabis branding and marketing platform owned by California-based Ghost Group. He and the management team are supported by a strategic advisor, Derek Pedro, who was one of the first cannabis consultants in Canada and has registered over 2,000 unique strains with Health Canada. Pedro is also a pioneer in government relations and has provided his expertise to help BLOCKStrain navigate discussions with the provincial governments of Canada.
As the company awaits TSXV approval for a reverse takeover of Scorpion Resources Inc, it has proposed a board of directors with additional industry experts. One of the proposed directors is Cameron Chell, who brings vast experience in developing blockchain technologies, having worked on the Kodak blockchain. He also brings in-depth knowledge of the public sector, and is also helping the company navigate that environment.
Robert Galarza—CEO and Proposed Director
Robert Galarza is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Spark Digital Technologies Inc., a software company specializing in revolutionary enterprise technology. He has more than 10 years of experience in advertising and mass-media communications, more than seven years of experience as a corporate transactional attorney, during which his practice included the representation of professional athletes in the entertainment industry, and more than four years of experience in the digital technology sector, specifically focused on mobile platform development, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions and blockchain integration. He received a bachelor of science in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and a doctorate of jurisprudence, cum laude honours, from St. Mary’s University College of Law in San Antonio, Tex., in 2009.
Anthony Jackson—CFO and Proposed Director
Anthony Jackson is the principal of Jackson & Co., chartered accountants, which assists private and public companies in a variety of industries with full-service accounting and tax services. Prior to his time at Jackson & Co., he spent a number of years working at Ernst & Young LLP and obtaining his chartered accountant designation before moving on to work as a senior analyst at a boutique investment banking firm. He holds a bachelor of business administration from Simon Fraser University and the professional designation of chartered accountant (CPA-CA). He has extensive experience as a director and chief financial officer of numerous publicly traded companies, including Delta 9 Cannabis Inc., a company listed on the TSX-V specializing in the production, storage and sale of medical cannabis.
Tommy Stephenson is the co-founder of Spark. Since September 1998, he has been chief executive officer of Heated Details Inc., a Seattle-based design and development agency he founded, which provides services to Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Google/YouTube, Starbucks and Mercedes Benz. He has also been the chief technology officer of Globatom Inc., a software-as-a-service cloud-based technology company specializing in real-time global logistics management systems, since May, 2016. He previously served as the chief technology officer of Ghost Group, a technology company that owns and manages a portfolio of advertising, Web, point-of-sale and logistics solutions for the cannabis industry (including its well-known flagship platform, Weedmaps), from September, 2014, to January, 2016.
Cameron Chell—Proposed Director
Cameron Chell is the chief executive officer of Business Instincts Group (BIG). He has built several start-ups, including Draganfly, RaptorRig, ColdBore, as well as was the founder of Futurelink, the original cloud computing company. He is also the co-founder of UrtheCast, the first commercial video platform from space, and Slyce, the visual purchasing engine. He is currently involved with creating and sourcing new projects and overseeing corporate development for BIG, which is a venture creation and management services company that integrates a proprietary strategic planning process into organizations fostering strategic growth, valuation appreciation, liquidity and management accountability. His primary responsibility is to provide project and strategic management facilitation while working with his co-founders, executives and investors to determine what is most important and specifically how to get it done.
Michael Kraft—Proposed Director
Michael Kraft is an entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and corporate management, with a strong record of success in both public and private company leadership. He has been the chairman and a director of WeedMD Inc., a licensed producer listed on the TSX-V that he co-founded in 2013, since April 2017. In September 1993, he founded and is chairman of Buckingham Group Ltd., a privately owned merchant bank that provides a full range of business support and commercial services to investee companies in a wide range of sectors, including technology, edtech (education technology), life sciences and natural resources. He is also a director of numerous private and public companies and holds a bachelor of arts in economics from York University.
Konstantin Lichtenwald—Proposed Director
Konstantin Lichtenwald specializes in providing corporate financial valuation, taxation, financial reporting, consulting and other accounting services to both small businesses and public commodity resource companies. He also assists in many aspects of client administration, financing and other activities. He worked at Ernst & Young GmbH (Germany) in the assurance department. He has also had extensive experience as a controller and chief financial officer of numerous publicly traded and private corporations in several industries. He obtained a bachelor of business administration from Pforzheim University in Germany and holds a professional chartered professional accountant designation in Canada.
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