MIDVALE – Overstock.com, Utah's e-commerce treasure, is going all in on blockchain and cryptocurrency – and the company's shares are following the move.
Overstock's shares peaked at the beginning of January, just weeks after bitcoin reached a high level of nearly $ 20,000 in mid-December 2017. The online retailer's shares followed the decline in cryptocurrency in 2018.
In August, the company's shares increased by more than 15% when a Hong Kong private equity firm invested millions in most of which went to Overstock's cryptocurrency, tZERO.
On Wednesday, shares lost more than 10 percent again in a general decline in cryptocurrency shares after Goldman Sachs announced that he would not launch a cryptocurrency trading desk , according to an initial Business Insider report.
And although Overstock is known as an online furniture retailer, CEO Patrick Byrne recently wrote in a letter to the company's shareholders that the retailer will spend less in his sales unit and will focus on the "development of additional unconventional growth and profitability instruments", according to a report by CNN.
For many, Overstock has always been a technology company first, so it makes strategic sense to go all-in on cryptocurrency and blockchain – the digital ledger where cryptocurrency transactions are recorded.
Overstock claims that it was the first major billionaire company to allow customers to purchase items using bitcoins in 2014. Now the company accepts over 50 different types of cryptocurrencies, according to Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures – a wholly owned subsidiary of Overstock investing in blockchain technology.
"We think the blockchain is the next revolutionary and transformative technology," Johnson told KSL.com. "As if we were on the wave of e-commerce and on the Internet, we think we'll be even earlier on what we think will be a tidal wave of blockchain revolution."
Overstock currently converts half of all its cryptocurrency income into dollars and keeps half as bitcoin – sometimes using it to pay employee bonuses, Johnson said.
At present, only 0.25 percent of Overstock's total purchases are purchased with cryptocurrency, but is still somewhere between $ 30,000 and $ 400,000 a week (depending on the period of the year), has said Johnson, although he expects these numbers to grow significantly in the coming years.
In fact, Johnson believes everyone will use blockchain much more in the next five years than they can expect. Blockchain will make life easier in the same way that the Internet has made life easier by allowing a flow of information free and frictionless,
"For those who call it a passing fad, the Internet may have been a fashion for them in 1988, "he said.
To learn more about blockchain technology, check out the video below
Medici has made investments in 15 or 16 portfolio companies who are working towards advancement of blockchain technology, and the subsidiary employs about 70 of its blockchain developers. Ultimately, the mission of the organization is to use blockchain technology to "democratize capital, eliminate intermediaries and resuscitate commerce," Johnson said
. To do this, Medici invests in companies that focus on different sectors in which the blockchain could be revolutionary.  Technology could replace exchanges that require brokers, transfer agents and two days to settle a transaction, Johnson said. The decentralized and secure Blockchain platform would allow anyone who wants to buy shares from another to do so without intermediaries, simply by exchanging money for a digital stock certificate.
It could also help those (often in developing countries) who are not "You can enter a bank or produce the same type of property documents for a loan that most in the US has access to." 19659002] Blockchain will make the voting process and supply chain safer as advances in biometric identification, Johnson said … Indeed, blockchain and cryptocurrency will revolutionize the world in more ways than we know, he added.  And Overstock's confidence in technology seems to be a major goal, even if it means that the company's share capital will rise and fall as the rest of the world decide if the blockchain and the cryptocurrency are worth it.
"We consider ourselves to be value investors, seeking to build long-term value for our shareholders," Johnson said. "We think that blockchain technology will be the wave of the future, and we want cultivate it, make it progress in ways we think will be meaningful. "