Overstock's CEO will sell the company's retail business to focus on blockchain

Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock, an online retail store, told The Wall Street Journal, on Friday, that he plans on selling Overstock's retail business in a deal expected to wrap up by February 2019. Bryne is an ardent believer of blockchain technology and cryptoassets. As CEO of Overstock, he led the company's investment in Medici Ventures, a fully-owned unit which incubates startups using blockchain technology. Some startups under the Medici Ventures umbrella include tZero, a platform designed to support the trading of security tokens and Voatz, a blockchain-enabled voting solution.

Overstock's investment in Medici Ventures has been costly for the company and its shareholders. Medici Ventures lost $39M through the first nine months of 2018 and lost $22m in 2017. Shares in Overstock are down 66% this year. However, after today's announcement Overstock's shares grew as much as 26%. (Source: WSJ)

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Steven Zheng is a researcher for The Block. He joined The Block in August 2018. Steven graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in economics. Previously, he covered blockchain and crypto at Radicle, a startup analytics firm. He also had brief stints at Cheddar, a media startup, and Bowery Capital, a venture capital firm. He owns bitcoin. Follow Steven on Twitter at: @Dogetoshi

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