Business

Steve Kaaru

Absolutely, yes: Overstock to retain focus on crypto after CEO exit

When Patrick Byrne, the man who has been at the helm of online retailer Overstock.com for over two decades, announced his resignation last week, questions lingered on the future of the company. The biggest question was regarding the Utah-based company’s blockchain ventures. Would the blockchain spirit leave the company with him, many wondered. But fear not, Overstock is still as committed to its blockchain projects as ever.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, the interim CEO Jonathan Johnson was asked about whether the company will march on with its blockchain projects. His answer was emphatic.

“Absolutely, yes!”

Overstock was one of the earliest believers in cryptos and blockchain on Wall Street, becoming the first major online retailer to accept SegWitCoin (BTC) for payments back in 2014. Later that year, it launched Medici Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary that invests in blockchain companies. In early 2019 when the state of Ohio announced it would accept taxes in crypto, Overstock once again set the bar, becoming the first company to settle its taxes in crypto.

Johnson, who was a member of the Overstock board before taking over as the interim CEO stated, “I sit on the board of tZero. I think it’s going to be very disruptive and revolutionary in the capital markets. It’s a great blockchain use. Our team at Medici Ventures, which is the blockchain-focused business, is still working hard and those different companies in the Medici family are growing at a nice rate.”

tZero is the security token trading platform that Overstock launched this year. As CoinGeek reported in May, the platform was struggling to find an investor after Hong Kong investment fund GSR Capital pulled out of a $30 million deal. The deal would have valued the company at $1.5 billion.

Johnson has been running the blockchain business for the past three years. He has also previously served as the acting CEO for Overstock in the past when Byrne stepped down temporarily due to an illness.

He added that he would be equally dedicated to both the retail and blockchain divisions.

“So, one side of the house isn’t going to get more love than the other. I love both the retail business and the blockchain business.”

Some of the blockchain companies that Overstock has invested in are Voatz, a startup that applies blockchain in the election process; Factom, an enterprise-focused blockchain company; SettleMint, a dapp development platform and PeerNova, a distributed financial markets company.

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