BLOCKStrain teams up with Spire Secure Logistics to market cannabis blockchain solution

20 July 2018

Vancouver-based tech company BLOCKStrain has entered into a memorandum of understanding with strategy and security advisory firm Spire Secure Logistics. The firms will work together to market a blockchain solution that stores and tracks legal cannabis genetic strains, preventing organized crime and black market intrusion.

Blockchain is ‘in.’ Cannabis is ‘in.’ Bitcoin prices and cannabis stocks have reached bubble-level proportions in the recent past, and a recent report from Deloitte expects the legal marijuana market to be worth a staggering $4.34 billion in 2019. Bringing blockchain technology to the hot, nearly-legal cannabis market seems like a no-brainer, then – combining buzzword with ‘buzz-herb.’

BLOCKStrain is a Vancouver-based tech company that has developed a software platform that verifies and tracks cannabis products in a blockchain-enabled database of genetic strains. Legal cannabis genetic identities are given a ‘DNA Passport’ in the system, and show where it was grown, manufactured, shipped, and sold. The data is stored in a secure, blockchain digital ledger which can give real-time info to government regulators.

Now, BLOCKStrain has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Spire Secure Logistics, a strategy and security advisory firm with particular expertise in the cannabis industry. Together, the firms will work to implement the software platform with governments in Canada, while endeavouring to gain contracts and agreements with regulatory bodies and licensed producers in the legal cannabis industry.BLOCKStrain teams up with Spire Secure Logistics to market cannabis blockchain solutionSpire works with governments and firms to design and build security programs and solutions for the legal cannabis sector, and aims to support regulatory authorities in the implementation of cannabis policies and protocols that prevent organized crime infiltration and black-market diversion.

"Spire is amongst the global leaders in providing regulatory and security programming for the cannabis industry, and BLOCKStrain provides an automated, intelligent and secure software solution that verifies and tracks cannabis products through an immutable record of legal genetics," commented BLOCKStrain CEO, Robert Galarza. "Together, we are determined to provide a world-class solution in cannabis logistics security to our customers."

Spire is led by former police and military experts with decades of experience in the areas of high-risk security, intelligence, and organized crime. During his 34 years as a police officer, CEO Andy Richards led some of the largest organized crime investigations in BC – a number of which involved the illegal and grey cannabis markets. Richards has a strong network of relationships with law enforcement agencies in Canada and around the globe.

"This partnership is a natural extension of Spire's work in providing advice to governments and security to the regulated cannabis industry," Richards remarked. "When we saw what BLOCKStrain had created, we understood immediately that this technology has the potential to become a central security and regulatory solution for the cannabis sector."

The memorandum of understanding will allow Spire to introduce the BLOCKStrain solution to one provincial government, and if that government buys in, Spire will be granted the exclusive right to introduce the platform to other provinces and jurisdictions. BLOCKStrain is expected to grant stock options and pay a commission with each successful ‘sale.’


PwC Canada announces finalists in 2019 Vision to Reality Awards

03 April 2019

Accounting and consulting firm PwC Canada announced the finalists in its annual Vision to Reality (V2R) Awards, which recognize innovative and creative Canadian organizations.

The finalists included organizations across a wide range of industries, including agriculture, healthcare and life sciences, financial services, and the public sector. Twenty organizations were chosen across the four categories of visionaries, builders, reinventors, and accelerators.

“The visionary” award is given to a small organization with $0-50 million in revenue (including pre-revenue) that has a new idea that is adding value to people, businesses, or society. “The builder” award is given for the same sort of innovation, but eligibility is limited to organizations with between $51 million - $1 billion in revenue.

“The reinventor” award is presented to a company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue that has transformed how it operates or interacts with customers in a way that supports overall strategy and gears the company towards future success. “The accelerator” award is conferred on a public sector organization (of any size) which has launched a progressive initiative that positively impacts Canadians.

PwC Canada announces finalists in 2019 Vision to Reality Awards

The visionary award finalists for 2019 are: Decisive Farming, GHGSat Inc., Livestock Water Recycling, Loop Industries, Inc., and Ondine Biomedical Inc.

The builder award finalists are: Interac, Mircom Technologies Ltd., PointClickCare, Raptor Mining, and the Vancouver Airport Authority.

The reinventor finalists are: Agropur Cooperative, BMO Financial Group, Loblaw Digital, Rogers, and Sun Life Financial.

The accelerator finalists are: The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), British Columbia's Ministry of Health, Canada Border Services Agency, Medavie Health Services New Brunswick, and Oakville Hydro.

The organizations across the four categories are strong indicators that innovation – a major component of competitiveness in a globalized world – is still alive and well in Canada. GHGSat, for example, is using high resolution satellites to detect greenhouse gas emission from industrial sites anywhere in the world. The Vancouver Airport Authority has implemented the first automated border clearance kiosk in the world, using biometrics and self-service technology to speed up border clearance and improve customer experience.

Sun Life Financial has introduced digital platform Lumino, which helps Canadians find healthcare providers and innovations with built-in credible ratings and cost information to enable informed choices. Oakville Hydro has also blazed into the future with the implementation of distributed grid intelligence that automatically responds to changing grid conditions and cuts down on outage frequency.

The shortlisted organizations were chosen by an independent panel of judges from the public and private sectors who have experience assessing innovative organizations. The panel will continue its work as it selects the four ultimate winners next month. They will be announced at an exclusive event in Toronto on May 9th.

"We're thrilled to celebrate our V2R Awards finalists who represent some of Canada's best innovators and leaders," Chris Dulny, chief innovation officer, PwC Canada, said. "In addition to giving innovators well-deserved recognition, V2R brings together a community of trailblazers to collaborate and share ideas. Ultimately, this type of collaboration helps make Canada a more competitive place for innovation and we're proud to be a part of that."