Bitcoin's Most Innovative Public Company is...

This public company uses bitcoin and blockchain technology like no one else

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In 2013, a major online retailer announced that they would be accepting bitcoin as payment for purchases. This company also has a page on its website that provides education and information to consumers on what is bitcoin and how to use it. Also on that page is a video of their CEO giving the Keynote speech at Bitcoin 2014 from Amsterdam, Holland.

That CEO is Patrick Byrne and the company is Overstock.com, one of the largest online retailers operating today doing well over $1 billion in revenue annually.

Byrne has been an advocate of bitcoin and made his announcement in 2013 to the newsbtc.com site rather than initially to a mainstream news outlet.

“Bitcoin is good money”, Byrne told the reporter.  Byrne has also been quoted as saying, “You want money to be based on something that no government mandarin can wish into existence with the stroke of a pen.”

Overstock.com wasn’t the first business to embrace bitcoin-prior to Overstock's announcement, Virgin Galactic’s owner Richard Branson announced that customers could pay for their commercial space travel with bitcoin.  Soon after, China’s leading search engine Baidu began accepting Bitcoin for certain purchases and eBay purchasers were also able to spend bitcoin to get what they want.

Overstock didn't just accept bitcoin to gain some marketing edge or to create buzz.  The reality is that the company was just beginning its commitment to the cybercurrency.

In March of 2014, Byrne reported that his company had saved about 2% in interchange fees from his acceptance of bitcoin and he announced that the company had sold $1 million in bitcoin sales and predicted up to $15 million in bitcoin transactions for the year.

At that time, Overstock wasn’t hoarding the bitcoin that was being spent.

  Rather, they were using Coinbase as their bitcoin partner, who ultimately, converted the bitcoin into U.S. dollars.

Overstock soon implemented plans to get involved more directly with bitcoin transactions and in a filing with the SEC in 2014 they stated, “In the future, we expect to transact in Bitcoins directly and intend to hold Bitcoins.This will subject us to exchange risk which may have an adverse effect on our results" 

Their recent filings for 2015 show that these direct involvements with bitcoin had not been profitable for the firm.  From their Q1 2015 earnings, Overstock indicated that they were directly holding funds in bitcoins along with other altcoins and that their exposure to these cryptocurrencies led to a loss of over $100k.  It should also be noted that the company holds gold and silver as well and exposure to market fluctuations in those holdings will also create gains or losses on their books.

Overstock’s most recent moves regarding bitcoin continue to show the “all in” nature of their commitment to bitcoin.  In June of 2015, Overstock became the first company to offer their corporate bonds for purchase on the blockchain.  A total of $25 million worth of Overstock corporate bonds will be sold to qualified buyers through a partnership between Overstock and Counterparty that led to the creation of the Medici project and its blockchain technology.

 

This technology allows for the sale of Overstock’s bonds, but CEO Byrne sees it more as the “world’s first cryptosecurity.

Byrne sees this technology as not only providing an innovative way for his company to sell bonds but as a way to also help secure capital for new companies.  According to their press release, "issuing the TIGRcub bonds on the TØ.com platform proves that cryptotechnology can facilitate transparent and secure access to capital by emerging companies.

But Byrne and Overstock weren’t done in their commitment to bitcoin, the blockchain and innovation.

Recently in early December of 2015, the SEC approved a filing for Overstock to issue new publicly traded shares of the company on the blockchain. 

I wouldn’t expect this to the last thing that the company does to continue its trailblazing ways in the bitcoin and blockchain community.

  They are clearly a visionary company.