A crop of mature, healthy medical cannabis plants inside of a licensed Washington cultivation facility.

Rory Savatgy

Former Miss Iowa Launches Blockchain, Cryptocurrency for the Cannabis Space

A cannabis-centric blockchain – a publicly distributed ledger – called Paragon has been launched to serve the cannabis industry, and along with it a cryptocurrency known as ParagonCoin. The firm plans to sell 100 million ParagonCoins at $1 each through Oct. 16, and it will begin trading on cryptocurrency exchanges beginning in November.

While ParagonCoin will not be used by consumers to purchase cannabis products, it could be used for business-to-business purchases and other goods and services within the Paragon network.

The company was founded by Jessica VerSteeg, a former Miss Iowa and reality television star who also founded the Bay Area, California cannabis delivery service AuBox. She is joined on the venture by rapper Jayceon Terrell Taylor, better known as The Game; Paul Kim, CEO of Xfire; and Juan Carlos Gómez, Director of Clinical Programs at the Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, who each serve on Paragon’s advisory board.

VerSteeg said she founded AuBox to “take away the ‘stoner’ image of cannabis” following the opioid overdose death of her ex-boyfriend Tyler Sash, who won the National Football League Super Bowl in 2011 as a member of the New York Giants. Versteeg indicated that Sash had asked about using medical cannabis while an active player and she had advised against it because, at the time, she was “uneducated about the medical side of cannabis” and “thought it was a ‘bad drug.’”

“…My goal in building Paragon is to provide a structure for the cannabis industry that will hopefully help the legalization of medical marijuana to all states and provide necessary medical care for those who need it,” she said in a press release.

The blockchain will help connect individuals and companies in the supply chain and track a variety of transactions taking place on the platform. According to a white paper, in addition to the blockchain and cryptocurrency, Paragon will launch ParagonSpace, co-working spaces for the cannabis industry whose location will be determined by ParagonCoin holders; ParagonOnline, a platform to organize legalization efforts worldwide; and ParagonAccelerator, which will see application builders design service-apps for the cannabis space.

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