VANCOUVER: The government of British Columbia has received a pitch from computing giant IBM to integrate blockchain technology into Canada’s cannabis trade, ahead of legalisation next year, as provinces scramble to find solutions to the management and sale of marijuana.

In a document submitted by the tech giant, IBM writes “Blockchain is an ideal mechanism in which BC can transparently capture the history of cannabis through the entire supply chain, ultimately ensuring consumer safety while exerting regulatory control – from seed to sale.”

The technology has been the subject of much hype, given the fact that blockchain sits behind crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Now, IBM is pitching the technology as a way for the state to snuff out the black market.

“Our submission was in response to a government request,” an IBM spokesperson told Motherboard. "IBM expertise is used to help guide federal and provincial government clients on best-practices, planning and execution upon request."

The advantages of blockchain technology have wide-ranging implications for a number of industries, advertising included. As IBM notes in the document, it is a distributed technology, “no central system brokers transactions”.

In addition, the ledger is immutable, with cryptography ensuring that “transactions (blocks) once entered into the ledger (chained) can never be altered”. This also makes the technology transparent, as all shared ledgers across the network hold all transactions from all parties.

For the government, this ensures control, and the potential to “eliminate black market sales completely.” For producers, the technology can assist with real-time inventory management, supply and demand projections, and consumption trends and data analytics capabilities.

As Motherboard points out, the use of blockchain in the cannabis industry is not completely novel. Medical Genomics in the US offers a service that enables growers to register their strains on a distributed blockchain ledger.

For other industries, such as advertising, blockchain is now mooted as a means to rid the digital advertising industry of its ongoing fraud and transparency crises.

Sourced from IBM, Motherboard, Medical Genomics, WARC; additional content by WARC staff