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Original Bitcoin Believers Overstock Still Bullish Despite CEO Departure

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August 27, 2019 | 

601 Views | 

Darryn Pollock | 

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Overstock was one of the first major enterprises to back Bitcoin fully. The retailer was known to accept cryptocurrency as far back as 2014 when there was very little coverage about it. As Bitocin has stepped into the light more, Overstock has continued championing the cryptocurrency.

At the helm of this championing was CEO Patrick Byrne, however, last week he left the company, handing over the reigns to Jonathan Johnson, a man who is equally bullish on Blockchain and Bitcoin.

In fact, Johnson was until his promorition head of Medici Ventures, the blockchain arm of the company. And with this, the new CEO has said that he has no intentions of changing the focus for the company.

A ‘Keiretsu’ company

In fact, Overstock’s breakdown into two businesses - one as the original retail arm, and the other, Medici Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary based around blockchain business - is quite unique. 

Under Medici Venture, Johnson oversaw a number of smaller Blockchain businesses labeled as a ‘Keiretsu’, a Japanese term which describes companies with overlapping interests. These businesses varied greatly in their roles and approaches, but were all focused on advancing blockchain technology. 

This will continue under the new head of Overstock, who told Coindesk:

“The fact that I am stepping into the CEO role means more of the same and more of the same focus for our blockchain business,”

Medici Ventures has plans to expand this network of blockchain and crypto-focused businesses. It currently has 18 portfolio companies working together on various blockchain projects. However, the growth will not be as rapid as the past three years according to the new CEO who added that he would like to see more crypto assets accepted by the retail division.

“I would love to see Overstock accepting ravencoin, I just think that would be great. My view is any kind of widely accepted cryptocurrency, Overstock should be accepting,”

One such business under Medici Ventures is security token trading platform, tZero, which reported rather large losses in Q2, but it was not something of concern for Johnson.

In fact, tZERO also reported losses of $10 million, but that is not what it is all about, according to Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures.

“We are proud of the progress tZERO has made this year as it has achieved the promised milestone on its 2019 roadmap, most recently allowing non-accredited investors to trade the TZROP token on the tZERO platform,” Johnson explained to me. “As tZERO continues to launch products and expand its business into new industries, we expect the revenue to increase.”

Building a new blockchain way of business.

The ‘Keiretsu’ business model is an interesting and unique one for the blockchain space. Having been a pioneer in accepting cryptocurrency, one could surmise that their decision to run this model is the next evolution of integrating blockchain development. 

“Medici Ventures is dedicated to building a tech stack for society that democratizes capital, eliminates middlemen, and re-humanizes commerce through accelerating blockchain technology in areas such as identity, land governance, money and banking, capital markets, supply chain, and voting,” Johnson told Forbes.

“We hope as our companies continue to bring blockchain-based products into production and as more companies and individuals adopt blockchain technology, the things we’ve understood for years will become normalized and mainstream.”

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