Public attitudes are changing toward cannabis use in Israel. For many years, Israel has been a global leader in medical marijuana research. Recently, the Israeli government approved policy changes that will allow up to 50 companies to export marijuana, making Israel one of the top countries exporting cannabis. But while decriminalization is slowly unfolding, the trade of non-medical cannabis is still illegal in Israel.
Telegrass, a cannabis chat service connecting buyers and dealers, aims to get around the law, however. Operating via encrypted chat channels and anonymous users, Telegrass has become Israel’s largest cannabis marketplace. And now it has taken the next step to protect user privacy. Telegrass is now accepting bitcoin as a form of payment.
Telegrass, Israel’s Uber For Weed, Now Accepts Bitcoin
If you’re trying to buy cannabis securely in Israel, where selling weed can land you with 20 years in prison, you’re probably using Telegrass. The app-based delivery service utilizes the Telegram messaging app to securely connect merchants and buyers.
Telegrass is topping 100,000 users and has more than 1,300 merchants, and the numbers are only increasing. And that makes Telegrass the largest cannabis marketplace in Israel.
It’s also completely anonymous, or at least that’s the idea. And to meet growing demand for the service and to help incentivize anonymity, Telegrass in making two new changes to its platform.
First, Telegrass will start charging merchants for particular services. For example, a merchant might list in one city but want to list in another area. That would require an extra charge.
But for customers, the biggest change is that Telegrass will now accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Additionally, customers who pay using bitcoin will receive a discount.
Cryptocurrency and The Future of Cannabis Finance
Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is a decentralized form of money that does not require banks. And even though the history of every bitcoin transaction is saved in a massive digital database called the blockchain, the people behind those transactions—and what they’re for—can remain completely anonymous.
That makes cryptocurrency an attractive option for buying and selling cannabis in places where doing so is a violation of the law. But it’s not just the illicit cannabis market that’s interested in cryptocurrency. In the United States, state-legal weed companies continue to entertain the use of bitcoin as a solution to their lack of access to federally-backed financial products and services.
For Telegrass, the new bitcoin payments offer several advantages. They add another layer of privacy for the platform’s users as well as the service’s operators. But Telegrass also plans to pay its staff, which has so far been working on a volunteer basis, using bitcoin. Ultimately, the service hopes the additional funds will help it meet rising demand and dedicate resources toward public legalization campaigns.