It looks like Overstock’s visionary founder, Patrick Byrne, is going deeper into the blockchain development space. In fact, according to recent reports, he is going to sell off Overstock, and focus on a variety of blockchain projects that are held by Medici Ventures.
Initially, Medici Ventures was a vehicle to fund and develop blockchain-based ideas, but now it looks like it will become Patrick Byrne’s sole business.
So far, the businesses that Medici Ventures has created or bought haven’t made much of a profit. Patrick Byrne doesn’t seem to care and told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that, “I don’t care whether tZero (one of Medici Ventures’ larger projects) is losing $2 million a month. We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”
Overstock was a Crazy Idea Too
While tZero isn’t making much money, the new exchange platform hasn’t had any difficulty raising money. The company raised around $134 million USD earlier this year via an ICO, and also received around $30 million USD from GSR Capital, in exchange for tZero tokens.
GSR’s investment was part of a larger investment push into both Overstock and tZero, which was worth more than $250 million USD.
Saum Noursalehi, the CEO of tZero, commented after the capital raise was announced, “This funding will allow us to globally scale our blockchain capital market platform on a rapid timeline, ushering in an era of trust through technology for the global economy.”
It is a good thing that investors want to support tZero, because Medici Ventures is hemorrhaging money. The WSJ estimates they lost $22 million USD last year, and so far this year that amount has grown to around $40 million USD. Overstock is also having a rough year, and has lost more than $160 million USD in the first nine months of 2018.
Really Cool Projects
Medici Ventures may not be making much money, but they are backing technology that could change the world for the better.
Another blockchain program Medici Ventures is developing has gotten the attention of the Government of Zambia. The African nation’s population has no real system of land ownership, which makes accessing capital extremely difficult.
Unlocking Economic Potential
Medici Land Governance is a blockchain-based platform that will help people in countries who don’t have legal title to their land. Zambia has already signed a Memorandum-of-Understanding (MoU) with Medici Land Governance, and wants to create a system that will change the way that land ownership is approached.
Medici Land Governance CEO, Dr. Ali El Husseini, said that, “At Medici Land Governance, we believe that the first step toward reducing global poverty is to build a secure and stable way to record land and property rights, and using our expertise in blockchain, mobile apps, and other technologies, we are building the technology that can do that. I look forward to a future where all land and property services — including utility payments, national and municipal tax collections, and mortgages — are managed on a secure, user-friendly system that provides equal access for all people.”
The platform that Medici Land Governance has developed has numerous use-case scenarios. Like any new technology, there will be a period of big investments, with little in the way of returns. Patrick Byrne might be better suited than most to be an innovator in the blockchain space.
Patrick Byrne Has Vision and Faith
Unlike many people in the late 1990’s, Patrick Byrne embraced the internet as a way to connect people in new ways. Despite the dot-com collapse, he was able to ride out the rough times, and create a very successful business after the dust settled.
Overstock was one of the first major companies to accept Bitcoin back in 2014, and their decision to take cryptos as payment led to a massive surge in their share price over the last year. While that surge higher has evaporated with the falling price of Bitcoin Patrick Byrne seems to be positive on a technology that may be the next leap forward in information technology.