Blockchain

Overstock Shares Fall 12 Pct Following CEO Sell-Off

After dumping 10 percent of his shares, the CEO of Overstock sent a letter to investors, assuring them that there is no reason to worry.

“I’ve cashed in one-tenth of my chips (most of it, to reinvest next to you),” said Overstock Founder and CEO Patrick Byrne said in letter to shareholders, according to CNBC. “Don’t worry, I’m still in the game, and we’re going to bring this house to its knees.”

Byrne has sold, in total, about $20 million in stock during the past week, as share price has fallen 12 percent. He first revealed his plans to sell in a March Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, saying that the proceeds would “fund sidecar investments with the company.”

The CEO added that in his 18 years at the company, he has only sold a “tiny sliver” of stock, and for most of those years did not take a salary. He also explained that he needs the funds to “pay Uncle Sam.”

“Remember, I didn’t build this. Washington built this,” the CEO said.

Overstock is an online retailer selling everything from clothing and jewelry to home goods. In 2014, it launched its Medici Ventures division to oversee blockchain investments, including its subsidiary, tZERO, a solution that applies blockchain to stock trading and the exchange of digital coins. Late last year, Byrne revealed his desire to sell or reorganize the company’s retail business to focus on blockchain.

While its stock was slightly higher Tuesday (Sept. 11), it is down 61 percent this year, which Byrne partially blamed on struggling cryptocurrencies. In addition, the SEC announced earlier this year that it is investigating the firm for its crypto-focused subsidiary’s sale of digital tokens.

Still, Bryne said he feels “very encouraged by the speed of improvements in our retail business (which also makes me comfortable taking this moment to sell). I also think the Medici Ventures business model is playing out beautifully, and we are getting to park your capital in some of the most exciting blockchain innovations in the world, coupled with the tech and corporate support that is making Medici Ventures a sought-after capital partner.”

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