Quality control standards are a hot-button topic of discussion in the cannabis industry. As the cannabis industry continues to grow and innovate, these standards will improve as well. There has been an entire sector of the cannabis industry developing for quality control and safety standards. One of those companies on the cutting edge of this niche market is Medicinal Genomics.
According to Motherboard, Vice’s tech publication, Medicinal Genomics is creating a repository of cannabis genomes that are stored on the Bitcoin blockchain. Medical Genomics looks to standardize strain names to ensure customers consistently get the strain they think they’re getting. This is most important for the testing and further understanding of the medical effectiveness that different strains have for patients.
The company also believes their repository will protect the intellectual property (IP) rights of cannabis breeders. Due to the confusing nature of intellectual property law, we could see attorneys and legal professionals who specialize exclusively in cannabis IP. This is yet another area of commerce that is being created by the ever-lucrative legal cannabis industry.
What is Bitcoin?
In order to understand how strains can be registered on the Bitcoin blockchain, let’s briefly discuss what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that can be shared anonymously and free of charge. Some mainstream news outlets have tried to demonize the digital currency, making the unfounded claim that it’s mostly used for illegal activity. The truth is, cash always has been and always will be used in far more illegal transactions than Bitcoin. Since the inception of Bitcoin, many copycats have also been created.
“The Bitcoin blockchain has been going since 2009 and its security is in its proof of work,” Kevin McKernan, Medicinal Genomics’ Chief Science Officer, told Motherboard.
After the first patent for a strain was filed in August of last year, Medicinal Genomics saw their opportunity. Breeders and growers buy a DNA purification kit for one of their plants and ship the genetic material to a Medicinal Genomics lab for sequencing. Then comes the techy part. After sequencing is complete, Medical Genomics compares the genome of the strain to that of a reference strain in order to confirm the strain is unique. Once the unique genome is understood, a random combination of letters and numbers are generated as a fingerprint for the strain. The result, according to Motherboard, is that the strain owner then has a publicly accessible and time-stamped record claiming their ownership of the strain. The grower can then prove that they are the first to grow their strain, should anyone else try to claim IP rights to it. For this entire process, Medical Genomics is charging $600.
“If for any reason we ever got shut down, all the people in the community that have the sequence files we gave them could recreate our database,” McKernan told Motherboard. “I think that’s important for the cannabis field. If we ever want to figure out the mitochondrial Eve of cannabis, it can’t exist in a centralized database under one company’s control.”
We want to hear what you think. What are your thoughts on registering strains on the Bitcoin blockchain? Is it a good idea for breeders, or are there better ways to protect their strains?
The contents of this article are strictly for entertainment and discussion purposes and are not intended for investment or business development advice. The author holds no position in any companies mentioned.