Overstock Postpones Plans to Sell its Leading Retail Unit
Overstock has postponed plans to sell its leading retail company, delaying a major cash infusion, which he hoped to get for his blockchain business portfolio. Originally aimed at selling e-commerce before the end of February, CEO Patrick Byrne indicated during a conference call to discuss results for the fourth quarter Monday, that it did not have a firm schedule.
Byrne, on the other hand, talked in a manner which suggested that Overstock expects to continue with its original business a while, claiming that, in accordance with his opinion, the retail unit is expecting “a year for explosive growth.”
In an interview last month, Byrne had already suggested that the retail company was changing its priorities by saying that “as if I’m going to own it forever.”
Overstock doesn’t shy away from crypto or blockchain. It has a trading platform, named tZero, for security purposes. Overstock expects the token to experience a “spike” in its volume over the summer, which is the end of the regulatory lock-up period for the expiration of TZEROP and when investors are allowed to use the platform, according to a company executive. At this stage, however, the token had a low volume, and in the first month of trade, the price decreased substantially.
For the time being, keeping the unit means that Overstock won’t become pure – play blockchain company as soon as it’s foreseen. The president of Medici Ventures, the blockchain investment arm of the company, Jonathan Johnson, said last year that the sale of the retail business would leave Overstock with Medici, his assets and a “cash bag.”
The company outlined a strategy to create “government – as – a – service” by deploying blockchain technology in the voting, land registry, capital markets, trade, identity, and money. The firm noted recent projects within each category that it has supported and developed as part of its objectives.
There are also some changes in the C – suite: tZERO has recruited an executive from its Dinosaur Financial Group partner brokerage, which is currently the only broker-dealer that supports trading on the platform. The company announced that Dinosaur’s former CEO Elliot Grossman had become CEO of retail business development at tZERO.
The Alternative Trading System (ATS) of TZERO was launched on 25 January only for accredited investors participating in the security token offering of TZERO Preferred (TZEROP). So far only TZEROP is traded on the platform, although Byrne expects more companies to use tZERO’s tech to issue their tokens. The first of them could be a manufacturer of mini – cars Elio Motors, Byrne told CoinDesk earlier.
The SEC also conducted some testing of tZERO. The commission sent a follow-up request for information on the tZERO token sale in December 2018. According to tZERO’s statement on the subject,
“In connection with its investigation, we cooperate fully with the SEC, which will require the time and attention of tZERO and our staff and may adversely affect our ability to focus attention on our businesses and our ability to raise capital,” the filing said.
Byrne, however, remained unfazed by the losses at the conference call on March 18, saying, our blockchain projects are some of the world’s most significant and cutting edge, and we’re just getting to the point where our products are being introduced to the public. In particular, a security token trading platform was brought live by tZERO.