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.
SIX Acquires Stake in daura – SDX Exchange
A Strategic Advantage – SDX Exchange
Boerse Stuttgart Subsidiaries to Benefit from Investment by SBI Holdings
It is fair to say that SBI Holdings has decided to go all-in on blockchain based endeavours as of late. This has been made evident through various high profile investments. The most recent of which include Ripple, Securitize, and now Boerse Stuttgart – the latter of which we will discuss here today.
In an effort to usher in higher levels of adoption surrounding digital securities, SBI Holdings has invested in multiple branches of the Boerse Stuttgart group.
- Boerse Suttgart Digital Exchange
- Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures
Plans Moving Forward
In their announcement, it is clear that the rationality behind this new partnership is geared around global expansion. With SBI Holdings operating within Japan, and the various branches of the Boerse Group operation throughout Europe, the pair should find the partnership mutually beneficial.
Beyond simple expansion, the pair of companies closed out their announcement by elaborating on their plans. They stated,
“The SBI Group and the Boerse Stuttgart Group are partners in the digital asset business in Asia, including Japan, as well as in Europe. We will work together to build a global digital asset finance ecosystem utilizing blockchain.”
Upon announcing these investments, representatives from each, SBI Holdings and Boerse Stuttgart, took the time to comment. The following is what each had to say on the matter.
Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO of SBI Holdings, states,
“Due to the decentralized nature of digital assets, it is our top priority to find globally suitable partners to build our digital asset ecosystem. The SBI Group, with its trading platform for digital assets and other relevant companies, will make full use of the cooperation with the Börse Stuttgart Group to respond to the global customer interest in digital assets.”
Alexander Höptner, Chairman of the Management Board of Boerse Stuttgart GmbH, states,
“Asia and Europe are currently the fastest growing markets for digital assets. With the SBI Group, we have found an ideal partner to realize our vision of an efficient, global ecosystem along the value chain of digital assets. In addition to the exchange of knowledge and technology, the collaboration also covers the issuance, listing and trading of digital assets across borders, as well as brokerage services and building the first global bridge for custody.”
The Boerse Stuttgart Group consists of various branches such as Boerse Stuttgart Digital Exchange, and Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures. These two branches, in particular, have a focus on blockchain based endeavours, including the eventual creation of a secondary marketplace for digital securities.
An acting subsidiary of SBI Group, SBI Holdings, was launched in 1999. The company maintains headquarters within Tokyo, Japan, where they seek out, and establish, strategic partnerships with high potential companies.
CEO, Yoshitaka Kitao, currently oversees company operations.
In Other News
In recent months, each of the companies discussed here today have found themselves in our news feed. Whether launching a digital exchange, or making strategic investments, both companies have been quite active. The following articles are just a couple discussing recent moves by both.
DX.Exchange Goes Bankrupt – CX Technologies Ltd
Additionally, a host of suppliers have taken suit against the company. These suits run the gambit from unpaid bills to the alleged fraud. The well-known cybersecurity firm, White Hat Ltd is one of the company’s claiming losses due to DX.Exchange actions. Another lawsuit lists Bee2See Dotan B.S. Solutions. This is the firm that handled DX.Exchange targeted marketing. Even the company supplying the servers never got paid – Malam Team.
Writing on the Wall – DX.Exchange
Employees and suppliers knew to take action earlier in the month after the firm closed its doors unexpectedly. At the time, DX.Exchange owner Pinhas Patarkazishvili cited the rising costs and dwindled profits the exchange had left. He told employees that he was searching for a merger or acquisition and if that he was unsuccessful, the company would permanently cease operations.