Bongs For Bitcoin: Why I’ve Started Accepting BTC For Glass Pipes
Bitcoin has become the biggest win for business: A personal story from an artist and a businessman. Bongs For Bitcoin: Why I’ve Started Accepting BTC For Glass Pipes
Once my company, Jerome Baker Designs, had become one of the premier producers of custom pipes and bongs in the 1990s, I no longer enjoyed doing it. However, when the Drug Enforcement Administration busted through the doors of my warehouse, and the Feds closed my business and seized all my assets, I had a change of heart. While I still won’t blow a custom glass for cash, I will do it for Bitcoin (BTC). Why? Because I truly believe in Bitcoin.
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When I was indicted in 2003 for trafficking illegal drug paraphernalia, alongside 50 other individuals like my pal Tommy Chong, the authorities said I succeeded, in part, because of the internet.
As an early adopter of technology, when I first heard of Bitcoin, I recognized it as a potential currency of the internet. Some of my peers were already accepting BTC. Bitcoins were being traded for cannabis in Humboldt County, California, for example. After Bitcoin became popular, it took off, and a lot of farmer friends became millionaires.
Initially, a friend of mine in Los Angeles told me about Bitcoin when its price was around $75. This same guy told me about Instagram and Snapchat before those apps became popular, too. Next thing I knew, the price was already $750. That is when I decided to accept Bitcoin. My friend showed me how to set up my own wallet.
When it comes to computers, I am not super technical. I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to mine Bitcoin. So, I decided to mine Bitcoins out of humans by selling them products they would buy with Bitcoin. I began selling large bubblers — the piece for which I was best known in the 1990s — when Bitcoin was approximately $700. It turned out that some people who owned Bitcoin wanted my glass bubblers. I got a few deals for Bitcoin, and then the price went through the roof.
Accepting Bitcoin has been great for business. I have been able to reach people who many of my peers in the cannabis industry are still missing out on. When I tell them they should accept Bitcoin, many of them respond: “What is a Bitcoin?”
For me, Bitcoin is the biggest no brainer thing ever. It is a great way to transact. I’ve never had any problems with the process. People come through Las Vegas all the time, where my headquarters are located, and pick up products for Bitcoin.
For some people, Bitcoin’s volatility can be stressful. But, after having all of my assets seized once by the federal government, I feel like I’ve taken back the power by legally accepting BTC in my business. I believe every business should accept Bitcoin. That would make Bitcoin itself much more powerful, too.
I have been accepting Bitcoin since 2012 and have had the opportunity to make many transactions with it. I predict that the global population will soon jump onto this currency and start using it a lot more.
At the very least, if you run a business that banks consider “high risk,” which means it’s almost impossible to get a bank account, then Bitcoin is great for you. The currency lends itself nicely to such industries.
The complex algorithm of the Bitcoin network is written so well and connects so deeply to the digital world that it seems it can never go away.
The fact that we have adopted it and put our savings into it only shows its potential power. It is a biblical algorithm that transformed humanity and will transform it on a powerful and fundamental level, forever changing the course of history.
Federal Reform Could Transform Crypto’s Cannabis Use Case
As senators call for an end to the federal prohibition of marijuana, how would it affect the crypto-cannabis connection that’s arisen in the weed industry’s banking blindspot?
The recent vow by United States Senate leader Chuck Schumer to end federal prohibition of cannabis could have knock-on effects for Bitcoin (BTC) and the wider cryptocurrency industry.
Schumer and fellow Democratic senators Ron Wyden and Cory Booker released a joint statement on Feb. 1, declaring their intention to comprehensively reform federal cannabis legislation. The statement noted the disproportionate impact of the war on drugs on people of color. It stated:
“The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country.”
Even in states where cannabis is legal, dispensary owners have still been forced to operate outside the traditional banking sphere. Federal prohibition has so far meant that most banks have been unwilling to risk doing business with cannabis stores, effectively forcing owners to run a cash business.
Cryptocurrency and cannabis, particularly in relation to legalization in the United States, both came of age in the same decade. Both have traditionally faced many of the same difficulties in gaining social acceptance, whether from lawmakers and regulators, or even the general public.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that cryptocurrency projects stepped in to fill the void the banks had left in the legal cannabis industry.
As well as giving birth to numerous marijuana-inspired cryptocurrency tokens, and seeing blockchain technology used to shake up the seed-to-sale supply chain, the emergence of crypto in the cannabis industry also gave dispensary owners an alternative to cash payments, and a way to store wealth.
But if cannabis really were to be legalized at the federal level, what would happen to the burgeoning relationship between weed and crypto? Would cryptocurrency effectively be robbed of a use case?
Michael Wagner, the CEO of Multichain Ventures, which provides blockchain payment solutions for the cannabis industry, told Cointelegraph it was possible that acceptance from normal banks could negate the need for business owners to use cryptocurrency. Wagner said:
“As to the utility of cryptocurrencies should traditional financial centers open up to these businesses, I will admit that it decreases the attractiveness of a solution founded on blockchain.”
However, the impact of such an occurrence probably wouldn’t make itself felt, says Wagner, who says the lack of legal clarity around crypto has made it difficult for cannabis users to get on board so far.
“It has been my experience, in countless conversations with cannabis operators, that cryptocurrency is not widely adopted despite the friction present in financial services today. A lack of clarity surrounding legality of crypto, as well as understanding of the technology, produced a considerable barrier to entry.”
The drive to produce a digital payment system for the cannabis industry, which saw Multichain Ventures work alongside the State of Nevada on a blockchain-based pilot, is an example of an attempt to break down that barrier, says Wagner.
But regardless of cannabis’ legal status, Wagner says using cryptocurrency comes with its own benefits, beyond simply being a means of storing wealth.
“Further, our internal thesis has been, and continues to be, that decentralized financial ecosystems provide substantial utility on their own […] To that end, while traditional banking would open up competitors, the innovation that is cryptocurrency continues to be superior in virtually every way. Faster and cheaper transactions. Greater transparency.”
Wagner says he supports calls for cannabis legalization and believes cryptocurrency will carve a path for itself no matter what:
“I fully support greater access for cannabis business through legislation, but I believe we will find attractive use-cases for cryptocurrency assets regardless.”
The legal cannabis industry was estimated to be worth around $20 billion globally in 2020, even amid the COVID-19 lockdown. For context, the value of the cannabis sold on the black market is estimated to be more than 10 times as much.
Senators Schumer, Wyden and Booker intend to release a reform discussion draft by early 2021. Numerous cannabis stocks rallied in the wake of their official statement.
Pot Users Splurge On $800 Bongs As Stigmas Fade
Cannabis accessories are getting the luxury treatment, from $800 bongs designed by artists to $600 bespoke tabletop lighters and $300 vanity trays.
These upscale products are catching on as stigmas around marijuana dissipate and its consumers seek to show off cannabis culture. The items are meant to be proudly displayed and double as home décor and art, rather than paraphernalia that’s stashed away when company arrives.
“For a very long time, the only choice that a consumer had was inside the stoner meme, or the stoner-centric world,” said Nidha Lucky Handa, chief executive officer of cannabis brand Leune, which is in part backed by NBA stars Carmelo Anthony and John Wall. “Does that describe every consumer? No, not even close.”
There are now luxury versions of virtually every cannabis-related product for those who can afford them. Shoppers that routinely splurge on discretionary purchases like designer clothing or luxury cars are also likely willing to spend a premium on cannabis gear.
The consumers are heading to stores like Higher Standards, which has opened flagships in New York and Los Angeles. The company has collaborated with décor icon Jonathan Adler. Brooklyn’s Leaf & Wood is also attracting shoppers with its custom trays and rolling stations.
Then there’s fashion label Edie Parker, known best for flashy acrylic handbag inset with designs like a toadstool house or a broccoli floret. It added a selection of luxury cannabis accessories to its fashion boutique on New York’s ritzy Madison Avenue in 2019, putting bongs and bowls next to clutches and asserting that cannabis has a place in even the haughtiest shopping area, surrounded by fashion houses like Emilio Pucci and Lanvin.
Brett Heyman, Edie Parker’s founder and creative director, said even though artisanal pipes and glassware have long been available, display items weren’t popular.
“We looked at it as an extension of our home collection,” said Heyman, whose shop has since moved downtown near other trendy fashion brands such as Reformation and A.P.C. “We were into this idea that these beautiful accessories would help de-stigmatize and normalize cannabis.”
Mainstream retailers are getting on board. Urban Outfitters, for example, sells Edie Parker’s grinders, lighters and stash boxes in its “herbal accessories” section.
While it’s still early, investors are getting interested as well. Raising money for a cannabis business can be difficult due to vice clauses and the lack of federal legalization, but the smoking accessories realm has no such hang-ups.
“Accessories will probably end up being a VC favorite because it doesn’t touch the plant,” said Catharine Dockery, a former Walmart Inc. executive who now runs her fund Vice Ventures. “That being said, this is all uncharted area.”
Buy High, Sell High: Custom Pipe-Maker To Snoop Dogg And Santana Tokenizes Bongs
“As an artist, we need a certificate of authenticity to connect to the art. NFTs act as a certificate of authenticity and create value and legacy,” said Jerome Baker Designs founder and president Jason Harris.
Las Vegas-based glass pipe maker to the stars Jerome Baker Designs will launch a series of bong-related nonfungible tokens (NFTs) tied to corresponding physical assets early next month.
The NFTs, on FDCTech’s Ethereum-based platform, depict the unique glassblowing process for each bong and come with additional unique benefits. They are due to drop on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 13) and the corresponding physical bongs will be auctioned off at Superchief Gallery.
Jerome Baker Designs founder and president Jason Harris is considered to be one of the top ten glassblowers in the world, according to smoking products marketplace SLX.
He founded the business in the early 1990s and has built custom-made pieces for celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, George Clooney, Grateful Dead, Santana and Rita Marley.
He told Cointelegraph he is excited to step into the world of crypto-driven digital art.
“As an artist, we need a certificate of authenticity to connect to the art. NFTs act as a certificate of authenticity and create value and legacy.”
According to Harris, while other forms of art like sculptures can be bronzed and paintings replicated or copied, glassblowing is a one-time effort that cannot be replicated.
“You will have a documented experience of the creation of that artwork and in that lay the magic. It’s like buying a pair of Jordans. If you ever want to sell them, you might need the packaging in perfect condition. The NFT acts as a certificate of authentication and the artwork acts as the package.”
Harris said the five bong NFTs to launch on Super Bowl Sunday will be in line with his Burnt Orange collection, a collection of translucent bright orange glass bongs.
Those who own a bong NFT will receive real world benefits such as glassblowing classes and a visit to the Las Vegas Dream Factory (Jerome Baker Designs Headquarters).
This is not Jerome Baker Designs’ first foray into blockchain and the studio has been accepting Bitcoin since 2012. Harris believes that the global population will soon jump on the bandwagon and accept the crypto asset for payments. The company plans on accepting Ethereum payments shortly.
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Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)
Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)
TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)
Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)
China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)
Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)
“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)
Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington
Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)
The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)
US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)
US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)
EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)
The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)
Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)
Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)
As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)
Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)
‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)
Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)
Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)
Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)
Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)
World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)
Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)
Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures
From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)
These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)
Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)
Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography
This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)
Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)
Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)
Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)
JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)
Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)
Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes
Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)
There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)
North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets
Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Lightning Comes To Apple Smartwatches With New App (#GotBitcoin?)
E-Trade To Offer Crypto Trading (#GotBitcoin)
US Rapper Lil Pump Starts Accepting Bitcoin Via Lightning Network On Merchandise Store (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitfinex Used Tether Reserves To Mask Missing $850 Million, Probe Finds (#GotBitcoin?)
21-Year-Old Jailed For 10 Years After Stealing $7.5M In Crypto By Hacking Cell Phones (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Shop With Bitcoin On Amazon Using Lightning (#GotBitcoin?)
Afghanistan, Tunisia To Issue Sovereign Bonds In Bitcoin, Bright Future Ahead (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Faithful Say Blockchain Can Remake Securities Market Machinery (#GotBitcoin?)
Disney In Talks To Acquire The Owner Of Crypto Exchanges Bitstamp And Korbit (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Exchange Gemini Rolls Out Native Wallet Support For SegWit Bitcoin Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)
Binance Delists Bitcoin SV, CEO Calls Craig Wright A ‘Fraud’ (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Outperforms Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, Grows Whopping 37% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Passes A Milestone 400 Million Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)
Future Returns: Why Investors May Want To Consider Bitcoin Now (#GotBitcoin?)
Next Bitcoin Core Release To Finally Connect Hardware Wallets To Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)
Major Crypto-Currency Exchanges Use Lloyd’s Of London, A Registered Insurance Broker (#GotBitcoin?)
How Bitcoin Can Prevent Fraud And Chargebacks (#GotBitcoin?)
Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)
Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)
Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)
The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)
Recession Is Looming, or Not. Here’s How To Know (#GotBitcoin?)
How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)
Many U.S. Financial Officers Think a Recession Will Hit Next Year (#GotBitcoin?)
Definite Signs of An Imminent Recession (#GotBitcoin?)
What A Recession Could Mean for Women’s Unemployment (#GotBitcoin?)
Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Is Looking To Reduce “Marcus” Lending Goal On Credit (Recession) Caution (#GotBitcoin?)
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