As the internet has matured over time, entrepreneurs have continuously found new ways to leverage technology to start new businesses. Particularly, as social media companies have grown into the international behemoths they are today, aspiring entrepreneurs have more opportunities to start new projects as well as start personal brands. These trends were accelerated as the world spent more time behind screens as a result of COVID-19 related work from home and quarantine orders. While this increase in entrepreneurship is a positive phenomenon overall, the internet has become oversaturated with self-proclaimed experts who have hardly achieved anything at all.Eric Benz is an experienced and successful entrepreneur who has a distaste for these entrepreneurial ‘gurus’ who claim to know the ‘secret’ to being successful in business. Pushing boundaries and creating opportunities across many different industries over the past 15 years – from payments to financial services to crypto – Benz is the real deal. Among other ventures, Benz was the CEO of Changelly and is currently a partner in MYNT.vc and during this time has made investments and advised many other innovative and impact driven businesses. Beyond his entrepreneurial savvy, financial mind, and leadership qualities, Benz believes that he owes a large part of his success to his ability to stay true to himself and speak his mind.To this point, Benz is making an intentional move into the cannabis industry, despite his storied career as a serial entrepreneur and tech visionary in the traditional and decentralized finance spaces.
Ever since the first states legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, the industry has consistently grown. While the legal cannabis market reached an impressive $9.1 billion in 2020, experts anticipate the market will hit $38.2 billion by 2022. Moving quickly, Benz is has taken the role of Canna Contributor for Cannabis DOA (decentralized autonomous organization) in the world,CannaDAO. Understanding the size of the market, the social impact, cultural cache, and wide application of the cannabis plant, Benz is very excited about the industry’s potential to revolutionize the American and global economy over the next decade.
With his Triple D plan to ‘Destigmatize, Democratize, and Decentralize’ the cannabis industry, Benz wants to redefine what the cannabis leaf represents. Benz is on a mission to rid the plant of all its existing negative associations to create an industry fit for purpose, focusing on the many different ways in which the plant is valuable. While everyone understands that cannabis can be used recreationally and for artistic inspiration, the public is also beginning to understand its medical value. Multiple scientific studies show that cannabis can help with anxiety, muscle tension, inflammation, nausea resulting from chemotherapy, insomnia, seizures, and much more. While this is a good start, Benz wants the public to understand the power of cannabis beyond its recreational and medical applications, as the ancient plant offers so much more. One of the most interesting and valuable aspects of the cannabis plant is hemp. Hemp is revolutionary precisely because it can be used in many industries. Hemp is moving into an industrial asset class in the United States because the material can be used to create formidable and sustainable replacements for concrete, plastic, gasoline, and much more. In fact,
Henry Ford used hemp to build the first Ford Model-T and intended to use hemp gasoline as fuel. Additionally, hemp can be used as eco-friendly paper and textile replacements as well as a sustainable alternative for animal feed. Benz is confident that hemp will not only alleviate the pressure on the international supply chain, but it will do so in a way that increases environmental sustainability, efficiency, and abundance. Benz knows that this small plant has the power to transform the industry and save humanity, which is why he wants to be the person to help facilitate it. Of course, with his experience and credibility, he is the perfect person to do so. Unfortunately, despite the maturity of the industry and due to the existing stigma, the government and traditional financial institutions still prohibit cannabis companies from accessing financial services. This means that, regardless of how successful and professional a cannabis company is, they do not have access to the same banking services or capital necessary to expand and compete with other big companies outside of the industry. As a veteran of the financial industry, Benz has the experience, network, and know-how to change that. In addition to his other entrepreneurial ventures, Benz and the CannaDAO community are launching an ‘on-chain’ game called canna-farm, for April 20th. Benz has plans to use this game to tokenize the industry by creating an immersive experience leveraging Web 3 technology. With this technology, Benz will use virtual reality and blockchain technology to help brands create targeted campaigns in order to acquire, educate, reward, or connect with customers. Of course, understanding how the plant has been unfairly demonized and criminalized over history, Benz wants to facilitate philanthropic projects to help address these historical injustices. For those who want to stay up to date with Benz, he hosts a weekly podcast titled “Canna and Coffee,” airing every Tuesday, where he discusses his thoughts on the cannabis industry.
Opinions expressed by Daily Front Row contributors are their own.