Article: Overstock’s Founder Bets on Blockchain, Not Bedsheets

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Overstock’s Founder Bets on Blockchain, Not Bedsheets

Paul Vigna, 23 November 2018

In August 2015, Inc. Chief Executive Patrick Byrne rented out Nasdaq Inc.’s Times Square broadcast studio for a lavish party to unveil his newest project, a blockchain-based trading system called tZero.

Three years later, tZero still hasn’t launched commercially, and it is burning through millions of dollars a month. Yet Mr. Byrne is staking his company’s future on it and more than a dozen other blockchain startups.

“I don’t care whether tZero is losing $2 million a month,” Mr. Byrne said in an interview. “We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”

Mr. Byrne is among blockchain’s true believers—the ardent devotees who are convinced that the technology will one day upend commerce. He is so sure that he has been planning since at least 2017 to sell Overstock’s retail business, which he launched two decades ago to sell surplus goods on the internet. He declined to name potential suitors, but expects to wrap up a deal by February.

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