What Is Potcoin Digital Currency?

Potcoin is a digital currency that allows consumers to buy and sell cannabis products anonymously. Potcoin was conceived of as a bitcoin that is used to facilitate transactions within the burgeoning legal cannabis industry.

Potcoin was launched in January 2014 by three enthusiasts online with the pseudonyms Hasoshi, Mr. Jones, and Smokemon 514. The cryptocurrency was created to fill a gap in the legal marijuana industry where regulators and financial institutions were slow in adapting to the economic change that U.S. states were bringing about by legalizing marijuana.

Key Takeaways

  • Potcoin is a digital currency that allows consumers to buy and sell cannabis products anonymously.
  • Potcoin provides a banking solution that brings marijuana businesses and consumers together on a decentralized peer-to-peer platform, allowing participants all around the world to make secure transactions.
  • Like other digital cryptocurrencies, Potcoin has seen a lot of market volatility. After itting its all-time high of $.5083 on Dec. 31, 2017, as of February 2021, one potcoin was worth $0.0339.

Growing Need for Potcoin Currency

As of November 2020, there are 15 states where recreational marijuana is legal and 36 states where medical marijuana is legal, including the District of Columbia. The number of states that legalize marijuana for one purpose or another is expected to grow as the states' legal systems explore the steps to decriminalize and legalize the plant for retail use.

In 2020, annual sales of legal marijuana reached $13 billion throughout the United States. Sales of medical and recreational marijuana in the U.S. is projected to hit $37 billion by 2024. As a result, challenges surrounding financing the legalized marijuana industry may grow.

A Schedule I Substance

Even though some states have legalized marijuana and more are expected to, the plant is still illegal under federal law and labeled as a Schedule I substance. This categorization means it falls under the same category as drugs like heroin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Marijuana operators and businesses, therefore, cannot utilize the services of banks that are prohibited under federal regulation from conducting business with legal marijuana sellers.

Many cannabis businesses, therefore, operate on a cash-only basis, which is inconvenient and highly vulnerable to theft. The statistics presented above on the growing marijuana industry coupled with the cash-only policy of most operators create a conundrum where marijuana growers and dispensaries need safe and convenient ways to deal with their daily transactions. Potcoin aims to solve this challenge.

Potcoin as a Banking Solution

Potcoin provides a banking solution that brings marijuana businesses and consumers together on a decentralized peer-to-peer platform, allowing participants all around the world to make secure transactions. To start, a user creates a digital wallet that generates a unique public address to receive the coins and a private key to access the funds. Potcoins transferred to a user’s wallet can be used to anonymously buy and sell cannabis products on a global scale.

Like bitcoin, potcoin is an open-source infrastructure, which means that improvements and changes to its code can be made by the currency’s administrators or external supporters. In 2015, potcoin moved away from a mining system like bitcoin to a proof of stake (PoS) system whereby participants earn approximately 5% interest on their potcoin holdings and transaction history.

As with the value of any medium of exchange, the value of any cryptocurrency like potcoin is directly tied to how much demand it has (i.e., how much it is used for transactions). Potcoin does not have a large community behind it compared to bitcoin or Ethereum, and hence, is quite volatile on the crypto market. For example, when it was revealed that potcoin sponsored Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea on June 13, 2017, the value of the coin increased almost 90% from the day before. (This has proven a pattern, as potcoin later sponsored Rodman's attendance at the Singapore summit between former President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June 2018.)

Potcoin hit its highest-ever valuation of $.5083 on Dec. 31, 2018, and has since witnessed a dramatic fall in price. As of February 2021, one potcoin was worth $0.0339.

Limitations

Potcoin is limited in terms of what one can purchase with it. Critics claim that this presents a lack of anonymization for the cryptocurrency, even though the currency’s development team claims transactions with the coin are anonymized. The currency’s specific use limits its user base to only marijuana consumers and dealers. This means that if the government decided to round up marijuana dispensaries, they only need to dig out transactions made under the banner of potcoins. The data that would be gotten from the potcoin blockchain would be easier to decrypt since the volume would not be as high as other transactions carried out with the most popular cryptocurrencies.

Potcoin remains a very small altcoin, with a market capitalization of about $3 million as of January 2021, and it faces competition from other marijuana-centric cryptocurrencies such as DopeCoin and CannabisCoin, as well as the continued difficulty of operating with a product that remains illegal at the federal level.