Overstock’s Founder to Sell Retail Arm, in Favor of Blockchain

Overstock’s Founder to Sell Retail Arm, in Favor of Blockchain

Overstock is reportedly looking to shed its retail arm for a not so surprising reason. According to The Wall Street Journal, founder and CEO of Overstock, Patrick Byrne, is currently planning to sell his company’s retail arm so as to focus on the blockchain. The sale should be carried out by early next year.

Byrne did not reveal the name of interested buyers nor did he disclose the terms of the agreement but he told the WSJ that he expects to finalize the deal by February 2019. Byrne who is known for his commitment to the blockchain technology has had this plan in the pipeline since 2017 so he could solely concentrate his attention on the blockchain projects.

The WSJ further reported that Medici Ventures, the blockchain-focused subsidiary of Overstock, is the major cause of losses for the firm. Medici lost $22 million in 2017, and it has already lost $39 million in the first nine months of 2018. For the reported period of 2018, Overstock’s overall losses was a total of $163.7 million.

In spite of this bleak outlook, Byrne is still positive about his blockchain projects. According to him, “I don’t care whether tZero [one of the projects backed by Medici] is losing $2 million a month. We think we have got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”

Recall that Overstock came into being in 1999 as a means of selling returned and excess merchandise online. In 2014, the company acquired pioneer status in the crypto industry when it became one of the major retailers to accept payments in Bitcoins (BTC).

Some of the projects embarked upon by Medici this year included “a remote blockchain-based voting in the US state of West Virginia.” Thanks to Voatz, a decentralized mobile platform, 144 overseas-based military personnel from 24 counties were able to cast their votes in the 2018 midterm elections. In spite of the numerous concerns about the security of Voatz, the experiment has adjudged as a success by West Virginia officials.

A blockchain-based land registry platform in Zambia is another project launched by Overstock. Under its subsidiary, Medici Land Governance, the company collaborated with the Zambian government to “develop a system of decentralized land ownership, allowing rural landowners to legitimize their estates and gain access to the financial world.”

In conclusion

Patrick Byrne, Overstock’s founder and CEO, has disclosed plans to sell off the retail arm of the company so as to focus solely on blockchain projects. Byrne revealed to The Wall Street Journal that the sale is expected to be concluded by February 2019.

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