Digital Token-Based Cash Management Company Will Serve Medical Marijuana Businesses and Vendors
The first-in-the-nation innovative FinTech program now has seven participants
PHOENIX -- Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that ALTA (www.whatisalta.com), an Arizona startup that will allow cash-intensive businesses to make and receive digital payments without a bank, has been approved to enter Arizona's FinTech Sandbox. ALTA is now the seventh participant in the Arizona Attorney General's Office FinTech program, the first program of its kind established in the nation.
ALTA is a private financial services “club” using money transmission services and digital asset technology aimed at providing a cash management solution for licensed medical marijuana providers and vendors. ALTA uses digital tokens to allow members to safely transfer cash. ALTA allows those tokens to be redeemed for cash and the value of the token never fluctuates (1 token = $1).
“In just under a year, we’ve seen promising growth and success from our FinTech Sandbox,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Not only will Arizona consumers be the first to benefit from cutting-edge FinTech products, but the program itself will help strengthen our state’s economy."
Earlier this week, Verdigris, an Arizona FinTech Sandbox participant, announced it will open its headquarters here in Phoenix, promising over 200 jobs.
Rep. Jeff Weninger, the sponsor of the legislation that created the FinTech Sandbox, added: "It's exciting to have ALTA as the newest participant in Arizona's FinTech Sandbox. There's huge potential for stablecoin technology in cash-intensive businesses around the world, and Arizona is fortunate to play a critical role in the development and growth of this emerging industry."
ALTA will test its member onboarding and remittance platforms that, when fully operational, will allow members to pay each other for goods and services using a proprietary blockchain-based, U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin digital asset instead of cash. Customers will use a smartphone or computer to access the exchange and complete real-time transactions.
“The cash economy for legal cannabis in Arizona exceeds $350 million annually," said Sarah Wessel, Co-founder, and COO of ALTA. "These are legitimate companies, innovators and entrepreneurs that are forced to operate in cash. We offer them peace of mind. Our digital payment technology lifts the burdens of having to operate solely through cash and makes our communities safer.” She founded the company with CEO Jesse Forrest.
"We help solve the banking challenges facing medical marijuana companies and their vendors," said Jesse Forrest, Co-founder, and CEO of ALTA. "ALTA uses blockchain and geofencing technology to protect clients’ digital payments and transfers. Other digital payment companies require a bank account. We provide all the financial services medical marijuana companies need without requiring a bank account."
ALTA is a financial services company that sells a digital commodity whose customers purchase ALTA's product using cash. Legal proceeds deposited into ALTA accounts come from the legal sale of a digital commodity, not medical marijuana.
Arizona launched the first-in-the-nation FinTech Sandbox in August 2018 to ease regulatory burdens for entrepreneurs and businesses. It enables them to test innovative FinTech products and services while remaining subject to Arizona’s consumer protection laws. Seven companies are currently participating in Arizona's FinTech Sandbox, with an eighth to be announced soon (a full listing can be viewed here). The Attorney General's Office has received over 17 applications to date. Three other states have followed Arizona's lead and recently established their own FinTech Sandboxes. States joining Arizona include Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah.