Former NBA star Dennis Rodman announced this week he was returning to visit North Korea. This is not the first time Rodman traveled to the communist country, but something did change regarding Rodman’s travel arrangements. Marijuana, in part, will support Rodman’s accommodations to North Korea this time around.
In a tweet, Rodman thanked a company named PotCoin, a cryptocurrency for buying and selling weed, “for sponsoring my mission.”
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) June 13, 2017
PotCoin describes itself as a service “designed to empower, secure and facilitate the legal cannabis community’s transactions by creating a unique crypto currency for this thriving industry.” Launched in 2014, the company arose in response to banks closing doors to the legal cannabis industry and needed a secure method to send and receive payments.
As PotCoin told Huffington Post, they aimed “to be accepted as legitimate across the marijuana industry, from growers and dispensaries in Colorado or Vancouver, to cafes in Amsterdam.”
The legitimacy of Rodman’s trip has received some criticism, as some question if this a publicity stunt for the company. Prior to boarding his flight, Rodman told CNN he hopes to do “something that’s pretty positive” during his trip. In a statement published on PotCoin’s website, Rodman said he would reveal more about his “historic” visit upon returning to the United States, while also thanking PotCoin for making it possible.
— Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) June 13, 2017
“Anyone who knows Dennis knows he’s trying to use his relationship to open the line of communication and send a message of peace and understanding,” Rodman’s long-time agent Darren Prince also said in the statement.
Rodman is one of few Americans with close ties to current US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jung Un. On the same day as Rodman’s arrival, North Korea released 22-year-old college student Otto Warmbier, one of four Americans detained by the country.
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It is unknown whether Rodman spoke on Warmbier’s behalf, though he’s said he practices “basketball diplomacy.”
PotCoin has already seen benefits to its sponsorship of Rodman. As CNN reports, “The Rodman link appears to have already sent PotCoin soaring: the currency’s value has jumped more than 60% since Monday to around 17 U.S. cents, according to industry website CoinMarketCap.com.”