Overstock.com Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK) has started the New Year on a high, in response to Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Byrne, announcing the creation of a joint venture for pursuing opportunities around Blockchain technology. The company through its blockchain-focused subsidiary, Medici Ventures, has partnered with economist Hernando De Soto to establish ‘DeSoto ‘a venture built to work on Blockchain.
DeSoto Joint Venture
Hernando De Soto is to serve as the chairman of the new venture and will join Medici Ventures as a director. Byrne, on the other hand, is to assume the Chief Executive and Co-Chairman role in the blockchain focused venture.
When it comes to ownership, Medici is to own 50% of DeSoto, Hernando De Soto stake is to stand 33% and the remaining 17% will go to Byrne. According to the two, the venture will seek to address the need for visible and standardized property records that has prevented most people from entering the modern global economy.
“The goal of the new company is to develop a blockchain-based system to develop a global property registry system focused on the property rights of people in the developing world,” the filing says.
Overstock plans to use mobile apps and social media to help determine informal ownership records around the world. The records should make it easy for property owners to value their assets.
Reports also indicate that Byrne has engaged the services of Guggenheim Partners as he moves to explore options for selling Overstock. It has since emerged that a multimillion-dollar investment fund has shown interest in acquiring the online home goods retailer.
Overstock share price has climbed in recent months in the wake of reports the company is planning to launch a licensed coin trading platform through its subsidiary tZero. News of a potential takeover also appears to be fuelling the momentum.
“If [Byrne] executes properly on blockchain I think the stock’s worth somewhere between $200 and $400. I own a lot of this thing. I bought a lot more the other day when it pulled back,” said Marc Cohodes, a noted short seller.
Renewed investor interest in Overstock.com does not come as a surprise given that the company is the most active corporate investor in blockchain technology. Stocks with exposure to the technology have seen their share price skyrocket in line with growth in cryptocurrencies prices.