Montreal

The Montrealers funding Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea

The former American basketball star with coloured hair and numerous piercings is once again visiting the most reclusive country in the world, this time thanks to a Montreal company.

Former American basketball star promotes Montreal cryptocurrency PotCoin

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is on yet another promotional tour in North Korea. The trip was paid for by Montreal company PotCoin. (Reuters)

The former American basketball star with coloured hair and numerous piercings is once again visiting the most reclusive country in the world, this time thanks to a Montreal company.

Dennis Rodman is on a promotional tour in North Korea, where he will spend five days in Pyongyang on behalf of Montreal cryptocurrency PotCoin.

Rodman, who landed Monday at China's Beijing Capital International Airport, was warmly welcomed by North Korean officials, according to Reuters which cited a Chinese news agency.

This is his fifth visit to the communist country.

"My goal, essentially, is to see if I can continue to open the door for North Korea to the world of sports," said Rodman, who was wearing a T-shirt with the PotCoin logo on it.

PotCoin is a type of cryptocurrency — a digital currency that is available for trade. Its website describes it as being community-based and "a network and banking solution for the $100 billion global legal marijuana industry."

Shawn Peretz is the one who came up with the idea to call on Rodman to promote it.

"Our team heard about a business opportunity with Dennis Rodman and we contacted him," Peretz told Radio-Canada.

"We liked Dennis Rodman's mission. He is for peace and love."

Peretz said he personally met the former NBA star to close the deal.

PotCoin paid for Rodman's trip but the company is not revealing any details of the agreement.

Invented to help U.S. dispensaries

Founded in 2014, PotCoin is the brainchild of Montrealer Joel Yeffe.

Yeffe, who no longer manages the company, wanted to invent a virtual currency to help marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, where the drug had just been legalized.

"You can buy cannabis there, but dispensaries cannot have a bank account and there is a need to find new ways to make deposits," Yeffe told Radio-Canada.

The virtual currency remains marginal. PotCoin was worth 11 cents on Monday. Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea doubled its value to more than 20 cents on Tuesday.

Critics skeptical

Jonathan Hamel, an entrepreneur and investor in cryptocurrencies, says he's skeptical about PotCoin, comparing it to penny stocks, which are stocks that cost a few cents and are often volatile.

"It's promoted via marketing to get people to think that it's 'the next big thing,'" Hamel said.

He believes the marketing stunt with Rodman will only create an artificial heightened demand for PotCoin, which will then rapidly drop in value.

"It's really just a copy of a bitcoin that does not really have any utility or value."

Translated from Radio-Canada's story by Bahador Zabihiyan

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