The metaverse is to the world as AOL was to the internet in 1993 – a new beginning. Likewise, the cannabis industry is still in the early stages of development and struggling with growing pains due to regulation and compliance. Yet, while the rules and regulations are being ironed out from one state to the next, consumers are often left with more questions than answers.
Mitch Ngo, CEO and Co-Founder of Golden Ark knows the struggle all too well. Watching his father's struggle with cancer, they turned to cannabis to help ease his pain. However, Mitch quickly realized the industry lacked standards, quality information, and organization.
“Even if you do find a product, how do consumers really know it came from a good source or how it’s been made? It was so frustrating,” he stated during an interview with Cannabis Tech.
So, Mitch took it upon himself to develop a better way, starting with becoming a licensed producer. They wanted to understand the entire process, so they started at the beginning with a cultivation license, then a manufacturer's license, and a distribution license.
And then they blockchained the entire seed-to-sale process. Now, they're moving into the next great frontier – the metaverse.
Blockchain and Metaverse Built for Cannabis
Combining blockchain technology and the metaverse, Mitch and the team at Golden Ark has created a virtual utopia for quality cannabis, traced from seed to finished product on the blockchain, bought and sold in the metaverse, then delivered to your door in the real world.
Jack Lau, CTO at Golden Ark, describes their platform as “a metaverse where users connect their wallets and get dropped into Arkland, where we have lounges where you can hang out with friends, have a message board, consume cannabis, or play poker together. It’s just a safe place for you and your friends.”
Eventually, the goal is to open virtual dispensaries where consumers can shop virtually, use Arc points to make the purchase, and get a product delivered in real life.
“You can type in your location, then [in the metaverse] go into the dispensary nearest you, pick out your products, and tell where it was grown, what kind of genetics it has, and vital information,” Mitch added.
Useful NFTs to Authenticate Origin
While many of us have difficulty wrapping our heads around the need for a $600,000 profile image of an ape, Golden Ark plans to implement NFTs to authenticate the products sold in Arkland.
Piloting the program with Elemonkey Clothing, Golden Ark sends a QR code with the limited-edition clothing. When users connect their wallets, they can claim an NFT that provides authentication regarding where the garment was made. Once the pilot is proven, Golden Ark plans to branch out to help other operators learn how to authenticate their products and reside in the metaverse.
Blurring the Lines Between Reality and Virtual Reality
Jack explained, “We’re trying to blur the lines between the metaverse and reality. We want to create a way users can be geo-located and see all the nearby dispensaries that reside within our metaverse.”
“Or imagine this,” he continued. “You're hanging out with a friend in our lounge and they tell you they've been using this product that has helped them with sleep. So, in the metaverse, you simply click on the link to go to the nearest dispensary carrying it, order it, and have it delivered to your house.”
“We're not creating new technology; we're combining them all in one place to make it easier for the consumer,” he concluded.
Creating a Platform for Virtual Events
Although cannabis is legal, consuming it in public is not. However, while in the metaverse in the comfort of your own home, cannabis brands could host virtual tastings to launch new products. Imagine receiving a penny joint with your order, and that joint comes with a QR code to receive a limited edition NFT and attend a private, virtual event. At that event, consumers can smoke their joint with a group of other people smoking the same joint in a virtual lounge where the host can ask questions and collect all the feedback in real-time.
Now imagine if one of the NFTs, like a Golden Ticket in a Wonka Bar, comes with a private, virtual smoke sesh with B-Real… or Tommy Chong… or Snoop Dogg.
The possibilities are limitless in the metaverse for authenticating cannabis products, providing personal social experiences, and building brand loyalty. As the concepts continue developing and more companies adopt the new technology, could we see the metaverse become an integral part of our future? Many are banking on it.