Overstock shares have soared 26% on the news that the company plans to sell its retail business to make way for a forward-looking bet on blockchain.
Company CEO Patrick Byrne is an early blockchain technology advocate, leading to Overstock’s $175 million investment into subsidiary Medici Ventures Inc. that comprises of multiple startups and tZero — an upcoming blockchain security settlement platform set for a Q1 2019 launch.
Despite having not launched after three years of development and Medici losing $39 million in the first three quarters of 2018, Byrne told the Wall Street Journal that he “didn’t care whether tZero is losing $2 million a month,” and that he believes the company has “got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”
According to Byrne, about 60 outside parties are developing security tokens with the intention of listing them for trade on tZero, and he made mention of a further 2000 enquiries.
Overstock shares benefited greatly from rapid emerging interest in Bitcoin and blockchain technology in late 2017, but also closely mapped the subsequent fall in market enthusiasm. The WSJ reported that the company’s stock soared from $15 in the summer to nearly $87 by January 2018, before falling to back down close to pre-rally levels to trade at $17.