Overstock.com founder and CEO, Patrick Byrne, has announced he will be selling the retail arm of his company to concentrate on blockchain technology, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.


Byrne, a known proponent of blockchain technology, did not provide any details regarding the agreement or any potential purchasers but says he anticipates having the deal fulfilled by February 2019.

Founded in 1999, Overstock.com was created to sell surplus and returned goods online. The company is considered an early adopter in the cryptocurrency space, accepting bitcoin (BTC) in 2014.

In August 2015, Byrne unveiled tZero, a blockchain-based trading system. The company has invested $175 million into a separate entity, Medici Ventures Inc. which houses tZero as well as a compilation of blockchain startups.

One of these startups is working with the Rwandan government to develop a digital property-rights platform. Another blockchain product, Voatz, allowed military personnel serving overseas to vote in the midterm elections via a smartphone application.

tZero still has not launched commercially and continues to operate at a loss, but Byrne hasn’t given up hope.

“I don’t care whether tZero is losing $2 million a month,” Mr. Byrne said in an interview.

“We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”

Medici lost $39 million in the first nine months of 2018, and $22 million in 2017. In total, Overstock lost $163.7 million in the first nine months of 2018.

Byrne, the largest shareholder, holds 20.2 percent stake in the company, giving him majority influence in the direction of the company.


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