CEO Patrick Byrne Announces Plan To Sell Retail Arm Of Overstock

As per reports from The Wall Street Journal, on November 23,  Overstock, the American retailing giant’s CEO, Patrick Byrne, recently announced that they were planning to sell the retail section of the company in order to focus on blockchain technology from early next year. Byrne, who is very interested in the blockchain industry feels that it has the potential to disrupt Wall Street, in the very near future. As per his recent announcement, his plans to divest was so that he could focus on Medici Ventures, a company focusing on developing blockchain technology and the adoption of bitcoin. Overstock, which was launched in 1999 to sell surplus and returned merchandise online was, in 2004 one of the first major companies to start accepting bitcoins as a mode of payment.

Though, neither the details of the agreement nor the names of potential buyers were discloses, Byrne did tell WSJ that the deal was to be closed by February 2019.

Medici Ventures, Overstock’s subsidiary arm which focuses on blockchain has reportedly been going through a rough patch of incurring losses for the company. 22 million USD was lost in 2017, while 39 million USD has already been lost in the first nine months of 2018. Overstock has also registered an overall loss of 163.7 million USD in 2018, while its two competitors, Wayfair and Amazon, have grown market share and revenue. However, Byrne who seemed very optimistic about his blockchain venture said,

“I don’t care whether tZero [one of the projects backed by Medici] is losing $2 million a month. We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”

Medici Ventures had been backing a remote blockchain-driven voting in U.S. state of West Virginia, where 144 military personnel stationed overseas from 24 counties were able to vote through a decentralized mobile platform Voatz. It is also backing a land registry platform in Zambia where they have partnered with the Zambian government to develop a system of decentralized land ownership so that rural landowners can make their estates legitimate and enter the financial world.