Overstock Repositions Blockchain Executives as tZERO Launches
Online retailer Overstock and its blockchain technology investment wing, Medici Ventures, have shuffled some top executive positions at the tZERO security token trading platform which launched on January 24th, 2019. tZERO is Overstock’s central project in its radical pivot from ecommerce to blockchain technology, and, as such, the most prominent company in Medici's venture fund portfolio.
Here are the three most recent and significant changes at Medici and tZERO:
• Joel Weight moved from Medici's CTO position to Medici COO
• Steve Hopkins moved from Medici's COO position to tZERO President & CRO (chief revenue officer)
• Stanton Huntington moved from Overstock's Associate General Counsel position to Medici General Counsel
Medici is interviewing candidates to fill the CTO position vacated by Joel Weight.
Medici Ventures president, Jonathan Johnson, told CoinDesk in December that the changes, especially Joel Weight’s promotion to Medici COO, are intended to increase Medici’s depth of technical expertise at the operational level as it makes delivering market-ready products the priority for its portfolio companies in 2019.
Overstock founder and CEO Patrick Byrne aims to sell Overstock’s flagship business, ecommerce retail site Overstock.com, by early 2019, leaving the remaining company with ownership of Medici Ventures and cash for further investment in Medici’s portfolio companies. Byrne told the Wall Street Journal in November that he is confident that Overstock can sell its ecommerce business by the end of February, following the start of security token trading on tZERO.
In a widely distributed August 2018 letter to Overstock investors, Byrne noted that “tZERO represents a regulated bridge between the traditional securities markets and the fast-emerging world of crypto-securities.”
Byrne went on to say, “Engineers at Medici Ventures are allowed to rotate among various projects, some internal and some as contract work for portfolio companies. This allows for cross-pollination among projects so that valuable innovation and best practices emerge.”
Overstock.com has been accepting bitcoin since 2014. The company’s first-mover status helped its stock price increase 400% percent during the 2017 cryptocurrency boom. Overstock’s stock price is down 75% since then, acutely impacted by the cryptocurrency bubble burst. Some Wall Street pundits have opined that, though Medici Ventures suffered a net loss of $39 million in first three quarters of 2018, its blockchain portfolio is responsible for the majority of Overstock’s market value.