Overstock’s Blockchain Platform Nearing Launch
Since Bitcoin’s earliest years, Patrick Byrne, Overstock’s chief executive, has been an outspoken, even zealous advocate for blockchain technologies. And interestingly, Byrne has brought this belief to his business, imbuing Overstock, a prominent internet-focused retailer, with the qualities of a crypto-friendly firm. For one, Byrne mandated for his firm to accept Bitcoin (BTC) in early-2014, while also introducing plans to launch a blockchain subsidiary — tZero.
Keeping this in mind, CNN has even argued that Overstock could even be classified as a crypto- and blockchain-centric startup, no questions asked.
However, per an exclusive report from the Wall Street Journal, Overstock’s involvement in crypto hasn’t been as cut and dried, and, unfortunately, hasn’t been going to plan either. The Journal explained that tZero, a blockchain-based trading platform that is in its infancy, is burning through money quicker than many can utter “HODL.” More specifically, Overstock’s subsidiary is reportedly burning through a jaw-dropping $2 million a month, with seemingly little-to-no results.
However, Byrne, speaking to the Journal in an interview, exclaimed that his firm has “got cold fusion on the blockchain side,” indicating that despite the lack of public knowledge on tZero, progress is being made behind the scenes at an unmatched pace.
Speaking on his personal beliefs, the entrepreneur even revealed that he has ambitions to sell Overstock’s online retail business by February, presumably to focus on his budding blockchain ventures. These ventures include Medici Ventures, which Overstock has siphoned $175 million into, to houses tZero and other blockchain initiatives that are working on innovative decentralized applications/protocols.
One such initiative is working in collaboration with Rwanda’s government to create a digital property-rights platform. Another promising Medici Ventures-backed venture is Votaz, a blockchain-based protocol for overseas voting via mobile devices.
While these startups unarguably sound interesting, Overstock’s shares have suffered due to Medici’s underperformance, with OSTK falling by two-thirds this year. This is presumably due to the fact that Medici has lost $39 million since January, which comes hot on the heels of a $22 million loss totaled in 2017.
But still, Byrne is adamant on his vision for blockchain, claiming that one day, tZero will be a globally-adopted platform that trades all sorts of assets, including security tokens and the so-called “digital locate receipt,” which tracks short-sold equities.
And in the end, the Overstock CEO’s ambition is for his firm to parent “several multi-billion-dollar properties” that a centered around blockchain technologies.
Byrne Believes Millions Will Turn To Crypto
Byrne, who evidently holds an ear close to the ground of the cryptosphere, even recently sat down with Naomi Brockwell, a crypto-centric content creator, to outline his opinions on this budding industry.
Touching on Bitcoin’s value as a decentralized, anti-government control, censorship-resistant, and borderless asset, he explained:
When people start getting into it is when their own financial systems collapse. So yes, given that I think the entire modern financial system is a big Keynesian, magic money tree Ponzi scheme, I do expect that the day will come when people turn to crypto.