A crypto register & wallet for the cannabis market
November 2020 - Present
Chief Product Officer
Tools Used
Plantidote is a startup
In 2020 I started Plantidote with my friend and fellow founder, Myalisa. At first, we built a what and where to buy app for cannabis consumers that also acted as a listing platform for cannabis dispensaries. It wasn’t until we met our CIO, Rob, that it turned into a full product suite designed for cannabis dispensaries and consumers but could be used for any transacting business. 
What’s my job?
As the head of product, I design all of our products from the infancy stages of wireframes to clickable hi-fidelity prototypes to show investors, front, and back end developers. I also am responsible for any user and stakeholder interviews as well as vetting any outside vendors for additional help.
What is Plantidote?
Plantidote's V1 is an all in 1 POS system and wallet that communicates with one another to make lightning-fast transactions with the power of HBAR and USDC (HBAR.) Businesses can manage inventory, integrate 3rd party systems, transact, and monitor online orders all in one place. Customers can view stores near them, transact, view a menu and order online, withdraw, send, and buy crypto. Plantidote will take a 1% transaction fee and kick back 0.5% to the business. Designed for the Cannabis market, but available for any and all businesses wishing to accept cryptocurrency.
Dashboard for dispensaries
Dashboard for dispensaries
Home page for customers
Home page for customers
Why Plantidote?
Despite the Cannabis legalization wave across the states, dispensaries face countless roadblocks in finding a secure alternative to the arduousness of being a cash-only business.
By providing a trustworthy and highly functional cryptocurrency payment system, we are giving dispensaries the opportunity to sell to a whole new sector of the cannabis market, and begin the migration into cryptocurrency as a primary source of payment. 
Hedera Hashgraph consensus is fast and efficient, enabling low and predictable transaction fees for issued tokens, making it significantly cheaper to exchange information and payments. By building our platform with Hedera and HBAR we are able to grow at an exponential rate with no negative impact on speed or functionality.
Dispensaries problem statement
💸The cash problem
Point blank, dispensaries are sitting on a mountain of cash a lot of times. (Almost literally depending on high volume stores.) This comes with a lot of issues ranging from security issues, headaches when it comes to keeping records of taxes, big banks not wanting to work with any cannabis-related business, and the cost of transporting large amounts of cash by hiring private security firms.

🦦Too much sitting product
If you’re not a high-volume store like MedMen, ZenLeaf, or Sunnyside, chances are you’re sitting on a lot of products. Specifically, cannabis flowers which then get turned into other products like edibles, tinctures, oil, etc. Part of the problem are customers are overwhelmed with the number of products that are available to them vs the amount that they actually know about products. Budtenders are knowledgeable but there’s still a learning curve. Another reason for this is cannabis dispensaries have a hard time forecasting due to the lack of business tools specific to the cannabis world. As we spoke to some dispensary owners, it became apparent there was a little bit of a guessing game to their methods.
📡The state of dispensary POS systems
Every dispensary owner or manager we spoke to absolutely hated the POS system they were working with. Most of them are built on Microsoft software and aren’t specifically built with the cannabis industry in mind. This leads to store owners piling on 3rd party applications to do general or specific needs to their dispensary. Specifically, inventory management was a nightmare because products can change into other products that are completely different and regulated differently by the government.

🤝The dispensary-grow ops relationship
Point blank, dispensaries are sitting on a mountain of cash a lot of times. (Almost literally depending on high volume stores.) This comes with a lot of issues ranging from security issues, headaches when it comes to keeping records of taxes, big banks not wanting to work with any cannabis-related business, and the cost of transporting large amounts of cash by hiring private security firms.
Customer problem statement
🙇Lack of product knowledge
After interviewing friends, family, and customers we met at dispensaries is that they don’t know where to begin with cannabis products. Additionally, they know about some of the health applications of cannabis, but don’t know where to find accurate information for the questions they have.

🤦Bad experiences hinder future experiences
As mentioned above, some people have bad experiences with cannabis but that doesn’t mean they want to completely avoid it. The problem we want to answer is how do we gain these customers’ trust back without overwhelming them with information?
🤷‍♀️I have the product knowledge, now what?
Intermediate cannabis users have some knowledge about different strain types and the effects it has on their body but they often ask themselves, “is there more to this than the psychoactive effect?”

🤔What’s actually in the product I’m ingesting?
Almost all customers we interviewed wanted to know what’s actually in the plant their ingesting and what its effect is on your body. While growers and dispensaries are legally obligated to show lab reports on any cannabis product, often times there’s too much information with little to no explanation. Leaving the burden of knowledge on the customer rather than the grower themselves.
What and where to buy app​​​​​​​
As a smoker
I can submit my symptoms to the Plantidote iOS app, and receive a personalized dashboard of what cannabis products I should be looking into or purchasing, why I should be looking into said products, and where I can purchase those products. You can also log your cannabis intake, schedule reminders for cannabis consumption, and overall track if a product is working for you. Additionally, for a premium subscription, there would be bonus content from cannabis publications, podcasts, and getting consultations from the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

As a dispensary
The number one problem that was echoed across different dispensaries was that they were holding on to products and converting them to another in the hopes of generating sales. With a what and where to buy platform, they can then list products in a bidding environment to increase visibility and sales through the Plantidote app.

POS system & Wallet
Once we teamed up with our friend, Robert Shintani, who helmed fundraising for Revolution Dispensaries, he let us know that there was a huge opportunity to build a proper POS system for dispensaries that could also solve their cash problem. And so began a year of researching POS systems on the market today, interviewing dispensary owners, managers, and budtenders, testing, and validating designs led to a POS system for dispensaries as well as a customer-facing wallet.
First pass of POS wireframes
Key takeaways: 
The dashboard interface was a win for dispensary managers as they now have every piece of information to prioritize what they need to get done for the day and end of the day. However, they also wanted to see deeper insights into business tools.
Final POS system design
Final POS takeaways
Dispensary owners believed we listened to their problems and needs. The first thing a manager wants to see is the total number of sales on a register and having the ability to see all sales for all registers. The first thing a budtender wants to see is the number of online orders that have come in the queue in order to know who to take care of first. This POS system is permission-based and we would take away functions and features based on the roles the dispensary managers assign to their employees. Additionally, when we tested the inventory transferring of products, dispensary managers believed it was the only POS on the market that was easily able to convert products. A huge win for their day-to-day jobs to be done!
First iteration for a customer-facing wallet
While I could mention what I did right in this iteration, I think it’s important to mention what I did wrong. The prototype above shows that a customer could cash out their HBAR via Venmo or another payment service. This is something that I had to wrap my head around that HBAR is exclusively on different exchanges and can only be sent to certain wallets. This was probably the biggest challenge of this project. You have to constantly keep in mind the experience of a customer cashing out if they wanted to. However, just like the Starbucks app, during interviews, we found that customers are okay with keeping any extra HBAR/USD in their account as they’re most likely going to be repeat customers. I wanted to display to VCs, my partners, and users alike that we want to make sure that the user is in control of their money at all times. However, it’s much easier to have a ‘one way in’ approach to the USD → HBAR transfer. However, most people understood it. Crypto smokers understood the vernacular of wallets and transferring dollars to HBAR, while non-crypto enthusiasts did struggle a bit to understand the concept. However, comparing our app to the Starbucks app eased the buy-in for how the customer wallet would work for users.
Second iteration customer wallet
Final takeaways
Some of the hurdles we had to decide on as a company is if we wanted to be a centralized or a truly decentralized application. By being a Dapp, you can’t build profiles for customers where their personal information is stored on places like AWS. You either need to parse that information with IPFS protocols or have it encrypted on Hedera’s network. However, by users creating a Hedera account, they can then log in with all of their information that is pulling data from the Hedera network. This is a double edge sword as onboarding isn’t really that smooth. We can’t create our own onboarding experience because that would mean that we would be validating personal information on behalf of Hedera which no financial institution would let a company do without working very closely with them. I think if this project would’ve moved forward, that is something we surely would’ve worked towards with the Hedera Foundation. You can see the full file for the POS and wallet below. 
https://www.figma.com/file/AHuvMJ0DdAnCljJVm7zyrl/POS-%26-Wallet---working-final?node-id=0%3A1 (adobe portfolio doesn't recognize Figma links 🙃)
What now?
While I think we had a truly great idea for a business, I think we bit off more than we could chew. If I were able to do this all over again, I would push my team to create a 3rd party payment processor for dispensaries and other businesses to start generating revenue for other products. Additionally, I would’ve spent more time learning about decentralized apps, if we truly wanted to be one, and what technical hurdles meant for my design decisions. We stopped this project due to financial reasons and also our competitors were raising millions while we struggled to raise a couple of hundred thousand. This project wasn’t a failure, it was probably the greatest learning experience of my life and my co-founder’s life. It brought us to better working opportunities and we now know what it takes to actually start a business. A once insurmountable thought was and is still possible. 
Back to Top