Overstock’s Patrick Byrne Out, Blockchain Still In
Following revelations of his involvement (at the direction of the FBI) with apparent “Russian spy” Maria Butina, Patrick Byrne wrote a letter to shareholders stepping down as CEO.
Byrne stated he does “not wish to disrupt possible strategic discussions.” Johnathan Johnson, the current president of Overstock’s blockchain initiative Medici Ventures, will serve as the interim CEO.
The Blockchain Vision Remains
Overstock became the first big-name retailer to accept bitcoin, starting in 2014. Currently, their blockchain development arm, Medici Ventures, is responsible for technical development and adoption.
More specifically, Medici Ventures has 18 companies which it labels “Keiretsu” which is a “Japanese term describing companies with interlocking interests.” The most popular of these companies is tZERO which is a trading platform for security tokens.
The new interim CEO and still current president of Medici Ventures, Johnathan Johnson, stated the following concerning the mission of Medici Ventures:
“Medici Ventures is dedicated to building a tech stack for society that democratizes capital, eliminates middlemen, and re-humanizes commerce through accelerating blockchain technology in areas such as identity, land governance, money and banking, capital markets, supply chain, and voting”
That sentiment is now present as Johnson become interim CEO. In an interview with CoinDesk, he stated he was “all in” on Overstock’s blockchain efforts; noting he even accepted his bonus in bitcoin because he is a “full-on believer.” In fact, Johnson added:
“Not only have I drunk the Kool-Aid, I’m drunk on the Kool-Aid.”
While Byrne was the original pioneer, it seems the company will remain in the hands of those who understand and look to create and adopt blockchain technology. As Johnson said, “[The crypto community] should not see it as a seismic tremor, they should just see it as a passing of the baton”
Overstock is holding an investor call today, August 26th, at 8:30 am EDT to address and reassure shareholders.