Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne wants to make it perfectly clear that his company’s future is in blockchain.
“It's still confusing to most people — even our own investors. Very few have done their homework,” Byrne told CNN Business. As a result, he plans to offer up even more details about Overstock’s blockchain plans when the company reports its latest earnings next month.
Since 2014, Overstock has been focusing much of its attention on Medici, the blockchain company that it has invested $175 million in over the years. For the first three quarters of 2018, Medici lost around $39 million, compared to $22 million of losses in 2017. But Byrne told The Wall Street Journal last year: “I don’t care whether tZero is losing $2 million a month. We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”
Overstock has also been working on its own tZERO security tokens. Its tZERO platform, which launched three weeks ago, has seen slow performance so far. Daily volume for the platform’s tZERO Preferred (TZROP) token has been somewhere between 7,000 and 23,000 units — slightly lower than the company’s expectation of volume between 9,000 and 35,000 units.
For now, Wall Street is more concerned with the possibility of Overstock’s retail business being sold, with some analysts saying Walmart and Amazon could be potential buyers. In November, it was even reported that a deal was imminent, but so far there has been no news.
“It does not surprise me that nothing has happened yet,” said Bill Baker, an analyst with GARP Research, who believes a sale for Overstock’s retail business could still happen for about $100 million. In addition, Baker thinks Overstock is making the right move in turning towards blockchain instead of staying with the challenged retail business.
And Byrne is over the retail game. “There's no point in trying to compete,” he said. “It’s way too expensive.”