We have seen many different applications of the Bitcoin blockchain technology in recent times, with the cryptocurrency industry expanding rapidly on the investment such projects have produced. However, a successful use of blockchain by Medicinal Genomics is possibly the most unusual yet. They register new strains of medical marijuana on the blockchain for growers, to both provide a legal record of the strain ownership, but to also provide a standardized framework for naming that could benefit the medical marijuana industry as it matures.
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In one of the more obscure ways in which blockchain technology is being adapted into a wide variety of industries, there has been a rush from medical marijuana producers to register their unique marijuana strains with Medicinal Genomics. The startup registers the names of new strains on the blockchain, and are aiming to develop a naming standard for strains that better informs customers about the medical product they are buying and protect the intellectual property of the creators.
Medicinal Genomics also test each strain to ensure compliance with legislation for cannabinoid content levels and to ensure the strain is free of any microbiological contamination. All of this is extremely important in the new, legal marijuana industry, as strain names that convey certain qualities that are crucial to medical effectiveness are obviously commercially beneficial. This is especially true now, as since August 2015 producers have been legally able to patent strains with the U.S. Patent Office, and by registering on the blockchain there is a record of strains should any legal disputes occur in this still fledgling industry.
Medicinal Genomics use a reference strain of marijuana that they compare all samples with, and record the deviation from that reference DNA, that deviation is the identification used on the blockchain. The fingerprint created from that deviation file is attached to a bitcoin transaction, and forms a permanent, public record of the strain, complete with time-stamp to provide legal validation of creation and ownership of strains for legal challenges.
Not only is there benefit for growers, but the system allows Medicinal Genomics to record marijuana’s evolution as a legal product, providing the framework for new strains to be produced. The system currently has over 1000 different strains recorded, creating a foundation for the level of data required.
While this remains a more unusual application of blockchain, the ability to quickly produce an immutable, publicly verifiable record in this way is perhaps the perfect use of the technology. As an example of why blockchain is proving so attractive to investors and researchers, this simple, yet innovative project is perhaps the best illustration of its impact on our world today.