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Crypto industry with largely positive outlook after landmark Senate hearing




(FinancialPress) — The Senate hearing on cryptocurrency regulation was one of the hottest topics of last week. Industry leaders and influential lawmen had several takeaways from it – mostly positive, as the general sentiment was that the outlook was “bullish“ and what was said during the landmark session could be considered “a sigh of relief“.

During the session, the heads of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) testified on a series of topics regarding the crypto market – including oversight, regulatory concerns around initial coin offerings (ICOs) and price volatility. The date was widely anticipated throughout the industry due to the outcome on regulatory positioning by the 3 government agencies – the third being the Senate itself.

One of the main highlights for onlookers was the high-level debate that took place, with lawmakers showcasing a real grasp of the industry and the technologies behind it.

Stephen Palley, a Washington-based attorney for firm Anderson Kill, expressed he was aghast with the level of knowledge on the oft-considered still obscure topic of cryptocurrency shown by both committee members and the very regulators who look to put reins on it.

“It’s amazing that nine years after the Satoshi white paper, you’ve got senators talking about this [stuff] and not pooh-poohing it.”

Other notable comments came from attorney Zoe Dolan and Berger Singerman LLP partner Andrew Hinkes. The former said,  via Twitter,  that “this hearing has made me so bullish I can hardly stand it.”

“As a lawyer – and a criminal defense lawyer in particular – I was heartened to hear acknowledgment that existing laws suffice to address age-old human conduct,” she later added during an interview. “Fraud is fraud.”

Hinkes, on his side, applauded the fact that both agencies recognized the need for more resources in order to overlook the booming industry.

“Although this may stoke fear in the community, more resources may lead to better, more thoughtful and more facilitative regulation. Regulation is helpful when it provides useful guidance,” he said.

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MassRoots Expands Product Portfolio with New Partner and Acquisition of COWA Science



With predictions that the legal cannabis market will experience non-linear growth in the coming years underscored by ongoing legalization of marijuana worldwide, companies big and small are hustling to build their footprints to capture share in a market that  Grand View Research forecasts will reach $146.4 billion by the end of 2025 (from $7.1 billion in 2016).  Whether companies are touching the once-taboo plant or operating in an ancillary segment, there is no shortfall of growth opportunities as part of an abolishment of eight decades of cannabis prohibition.

For its part, MassRoots (OTCQB: MSRT), a technology and rewards platform at its core, is branching out into different verticals.  Since the start of 2019, the company has penned two substantive agreements that have expanded MassRoots’ portfolio of products and services.

In mid-January, the Los Angeles-based company partnered with We are Kured, a subsidiary of New Age Brands (CSE: NF)(OTC:NWGFF), to serve as the leading online retailer of We are Kured’s best-selling CBD Pen.   The handheld vaporizer pen dispenses cannabidiol, or CBD, a THC-free constituent of hemp and cannabis trumpeted for its therapeutic benefits relating to alleviating inflammation, pain, anxiety, seizures and a host of other symptoms from a variety of maladies without unpleasant side effects or psychotropic buzz often associated with marijuana. 

The pen represents a new revenue stream for MassRoots as the first CBD product to be sold directly through the company’s online platform and social media pages.  MassRoots has more than one million social media followers, in excess of 750,000 email subscribers and hundreds of thousands of unique monthly visitors on its website and application to whom it can market the product.

This month, MassRoots entered a definitive agreement to acquire supply-chain as a service company COWA Science Corp. in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $5.78 million.  The buyout terms are dependent upon COWA Science meeting annual revenue milestones of $2.5 million and $7.5 million, as well as other customary closing conditions.  In short, the terms specify that COWA shareholders are entitled to additional shares if the sales milestones are hit within three years of the effectiveness of the merger.

For 2018, unaudited financials show COWA Science generated revenue of approximately $1.5 million by providing a variety of products and services to its list of about 50 cannabis- and hemp-focused clients.  Upon completion of the transaction, COWA will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of MassRoots.

MassRoots expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive while diversifying its business.  Management expects to build upon the existing COWA Science business to offer a complete cannabis-centric suite covering the full supply chain, including advertising, consumer packaging, process and product development, growing supplements and nutrients, HVAC and more.  On the whole, the new, bigger MassRoots intends to provide a broad mix of offerings to hundreds of licensed cannabis business in key markets across the country.

“Going forward, MassRoots is confident that the addition of COWA Science will increase overall revenues and expand our market presence, with the goal of generating positive cash-flows from operations,” commented MassRoots CEO Isaac Dietrich in the press release on the acquisition.  Dietrich added that the decision to bring COWA Science under his company’s umbrella came after several years of following their business and growth trajectory.

Online Media Group, Inc. is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority and holds no investment licenses and does not provide, nor claims to provide, investment advice. We are a publisher of original and third-party news and information. This article is sponsored content and is neither an offer nor recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security. The views expressed are our own and not intended to be the basis for any investment decision. Investing intrinsically involves substantial risk and readers are reminded to consult an investment professional and complete their own due diligence, including SEC filings, when researching any companies mentioned in this release. This release is based upon publicly available information and, while vetted, is not considered to be all-inclusive or guaranteed to be free from errors. With respect to Section 17(B) of the Securities Act of 1933 and in the interest of full disclosure, we call the reader’s attention to the fact that Online Media Group, Inc. received $1,333 in compensation from a third-party for content creation, advertising and distribution services related to this material.

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Nationwide US cannabis legalization lawsuit movement scores an L



(FinancialPress) — The first legal battle held by the lawsuit levvied against the federal government, launched by cannabis legalization advocates, finds the plaintiffs on the losing side.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who officiates for the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, ruled that the plantiffs “failed to exhaust all administrative remedies“ to settle their request, and therefore granted the motion to dismiss filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
The suit argues for the unconstitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, and requested that marijuana be reclassified from the schedule of controlled narcotics.
Had the suit been successful, marijuana would have been immediately legalized country-wide.

The ruling will be appealed by the plaintiffs – a group that includes a young epileptic girl and former NFL players.

Hellerstein‘s ruling read as follows:

“Although plaintiffs couch their claim in constitutional language, they seek the same relief as would be available in an administrative forum – a change in marijuana’s scheduling classification – based on the same factors that guide the (Drug Enforcement Administration’s) reclassification determination.”

The judge emphasized the fact that the ruling was an administrative measure, and should not be taken as support towards the notion of that marijuana should remain classified a Schedule I drug:

“This decision should not be understood as a factual finding that marijuana lacks any medical use … the authority to make that determination is vested in the administrative process,” he wrote.

He also denied the plaintiffs‘ claim of that using marijuana is a fundamental right of theirs.

“No such fundamental right exists,” he wrote.

“Every court to consider the specific, carefully framed right at issue here has held that there is no substantive due process right to use medical marijuana.”

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Alibaba bets big on Olympics for household recognition



(FinancialPress) — The biggest e-commerce portal in China is making a strong investment as an Olympic sponsor for the Pyeongchang Olympic games. The imposing pavilion the company put up at the event is in line with the ones erected by giants Coca-Cola, McDonald‘s and Samsung.

With this, Alibaba (BABA) likely hopes that some of the 3 other giants‘ global recognition rubs off on it.

The Jack Ma-founded company made waves with its 2014 New York Stock Exchange IPO – the largest recorded in history. The eccentric frontman is a regular at major international events, and just last year was part of a photo op with US President Donald Trump.

However, despite its massive success in Asia, its  “brand awareness outside China is not commensurate with its size,” according to National University of Singapore marketing professor Junhong Chu. Alibaba‘s market value is larger than Walmart‘s, and the company looks to change that with the Olympic sponsorship.

The requirements of the contract are extensive – minimum commitment of 4 years, and hundreds of millions in investment. While the exact numbers are not required to be made public, a report states that BABA‘s estimated investment will border $800 milion for the duration of the deal, which ends in 2028. This puts the company shoulder-and-shoulder with name giants such as Toyota, GE and Visa.

Alibaba steps in at a critical time – as longtime main sponsor McDonald‘s announced it will end its deal with the Olympics 3 years early. Not only does the new partnership bridge that financial hole, but a spokesperson for the Asian giant also stated that it comes “at a very critical time,” and that it will use its technology to help make the Olympics “more efficient, secure and engaging,”

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