Overstock’s relentless march into the world of cryptocurrency took another step this week when they announced that their startup tZero will launch its own app for trading Bitcoin and potentially Ethereum. Until now, tZero had been primarily focused on security tokens, but following the group’s move into cryptocurrency, which was announced in November, it’s no surprise that they’ve made the decision. The tZero app is being built by Bitsy, a startup in the portfolio of Overstock’s venture arm Medici Ventures, and is slated to launch in June.
Overstock Banking on Bitcoin
At the same time as Overstock made the announcement that they were going 100% into crypto, the full scale of their financial situation was also made clear – they are hundreds of millions of dollars in the red, and at the time tZero was burning through $2 million per month. They will be hoping therefore that when the platform finally launches, the addition of crypto trading will make it a more attractive option for crypto newcomers. The app will allow users to retain custody of their coins without relying on a third party, and will plug into a network of exchanges through institutional trading platform SFox, tZERO’s partner.
Byrne Leads the Charge
It’s extremely likely that Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne was behind the push to add cryptocurrencies to the mix, given that he is an ardent supporter of their potential – Overstock began accepting Bitcoin as far back as 2013. They also became the first U.S. company to pay business taxes in Bitcoin, following the launch of Ohio state’s official Bitcoin payment portal in November last year. The company has fingers in many crypto pies thanks to Medici Ventures, and it will be interesting to see how the company integrates with crypto as the months and years pass and the space grows.