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Remember when companies were breathlessly touting their social media marketing strategies as proof that they were fresh, innovative companies? Now it looks like “blockchain” is the hot new marketing buzzword du jour. Add “blockchain” to any press release, and you have potential PR gold. That’s especially true for a lot of penny stocks, which are turning to blockchain marketing stunts to gain name recognition with newbie investors.
Blockchain marketing for the marijuana industry
The latest example is Leafbuyer Technologies, a Colorado-based company that touts itself as an online dispensary database for deals and specials in the cannabis industry. Head over to their website and you can immediately see what they offer – if you are looking for special deals on Berry Gummies and Hempy Worms, they have you covered. The tagline for the site is “Thousands of Offers. Millions in Savings.” You get the idea – it’s like those annoying coupon stuffers that show up in your mailbox every day, but for the cannabis industry.
Here’s the thing – you can’t actually buy anything from Leafbuyer.com. There’s a page of products that looks a lot like an e-commerce site, but as soon as you click on an item, you’re told where you can buy it. It’s not an e-commerce platform, it’s more like a referral site for pot dispensaries and a site to find local head shops and dispensaries in your area.
Reality vs. hype
So how in the world is blockchain involved? Good question. In a hype-filled press release claiming that Leafbuyer will “revolutionize the cannabis industry,” the company noted that it was working with a blockchain vendor to streamline its operations and make everything more transparent to both customers and regulators. By distributing and decentralizing a public ledger, the company hopes to reduce fraud and increase safety within the marijuana industry.
Doesn’t it all sound like a lot of hype, the kind that’s typical of penny stocks everywhere? Combine marijuana and blockchain, and it’s the perfect storm of two hype-worthy industries. The penny stock industry is full of pump-and-dump scams, with companies trying to convince investors that a company should be worth much more than it really is. Check out Leafbuyer for yourself – at the start of May, the company is trading under a buck fifty on the OTC markets – which is a nearly 25% drop from when the company started touting its blockchain offerings just 2 months earlier.
Other blockchain marketing stunts
And it’s not just the marijuana industry that’s trying to piggyback on top of the blockchain. If you’re a fan of the Hooters restaurant chain, you might realize that they also put out a hype-worthy press release about blockchain at the beginning of 2018 about how they are moving their customer loyalty program to the blockchain. Or maybe you are a fan of Long Island Iced Tea? In December 2017, they officially changed their name to Long Blockchain. Because, well, there’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a blockchain. Shares of the company naturally shot up 500% on the news because… blockchain.
See? It’s all a bit absurd, if you stop to think about it for a moment. There are plenty of reasons to think that blockchain technology will revolutionize the world. We’ve already seen that with Bitcoin and the financial sector. And now companies are looking into “smart contracts” that can be verified by blockchain. So there’s obviously a future there. Just be wary, though, of companies trying to blow pot rings around you by talking up their new blockchain offerings.