It was scorching hot in Tilburg on August 25, the day coffee shop Toermalijn launched a new digital member pass. Fortunately, the shop has a large back garden, so the tropical temperatures were just about tolerable. At twelve o’clock precisely, the first customer joined the On Chain Smokers program and received digital membership card number one.
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Free pass with the purchase of 5 grams of cannabis or hashish
I’ll be honest: I’m quite skeptical about Bitcoin, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and blockchain technology. But I also have to confess that I actually know too little about it to have an informed opinion. That puts me right in the target group. Toermalijn wants to reach people who are not familiar with new technology and show them the advantages of digital membership.
But what does that membership entail and how does On Chain Smokers (OCS) work? The membership card is not a physical card, but a digital NFT that you can keep on your phone in your own digital wallet, a virtual wallet. Such an NFT is a unique digital file stored in a database called the blockchain. The OCS membership card is valid for life and entitles you to a five percent discount on all cannabis products at the Toermalijn . Customers get the pass for free with the purchase of five grams of hash or weed or sixteen joints.
Rewarding loyal customers
Despite the heat, Willem Vugs is very active; he explains things to customers, helps install the Maiar wallet needed to use the OCS card, and films in between. When things calm down a bit, he explains that the new system is primarily intended to reward loyal customers.
Previously, customers received discounts starting from a certain amount, but that was not fair for people who have less money to spend. The digital system has many advantages: a community is created, the shop can reach customers directly, and offer all kinds of activities and services. In the longer term, customers can also start paying with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, but not yet.
Chatting and Web 3.0
Another advantage is that other coffee shops can easily connect, so with your OCS card you get a five percent discount there as well. De Toermalijn has had good contacts in the Cannabis Social Club scene in Barcelona for years and there is definitely interest there, according to Vugs. In this way, a global community can be built that makes optimal use of the possibilities of Web 3.0, the new generation of apps and websites.
Vugs emphasizes that there is no link with sales, as with Albert Heijn’s Bonus card. The Tourmaline does not store any data itself, in that respect, the OCS is only the opposite of the weed pass that the government tried to introduce a few years ago. Part of the system is a Discord channel, where members can chat with each other.
The creators of the On Chain Smokers membership card educate coffee shop customers about the benefits of their invention
Huge potential in Europe
Whether the ambitious project will succeed is hard to predict. Judging by the long line of customers who lined up at the sign-up table on launch day, consumers are up for it. In these times of record inflation, who wouldn’t want a five percent discount on cannabis and hash?
I’m very curious to see if more coffee shops will join On Chain Smokers and if it succeeds in involving foreign cannabis stores as well. With the upcoming legalization of cannabis in Germany and its expected effect in the rest of Europe, the potential is certainly enormous.
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