Overstock Ramps Up Blockchain Spending With $8 Million Q1 Loss
Medici, the blockchain technology arm of online retailer Overstock.com,
is already on pace to exceed its 2016 spending on distributed ledger R&D. Revealed last week, Overstock reported an $8m pre-tax loss related to the effort for Q1 2017, a figure that was up from the $3m loss it observed in Q4 2016, and down slightly from the $11.8m loss it saw for the fiscal year 2016. But, the filing also showed that 'loss' is perhaps best viewed as an investment in the firm's strategy to disrupt Wall Street. As the documents show, the majority of the loss was tied to a $4.5m impairment charge connected to Overstock's investment in blockchain startup Peernova. Overstock invested $5m in the firm in March 2015. As such, public statements found Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne striking a positive note, arguing that the company believes it is investing into a technology trend that will drive long-term value for shareholders.
"I remain confident that we are doing the right thing for our shareholders by having Medici pursue a position of global leadership in blockchain technology."
That Medici is spending money is unsurprising, after all, last fall it launched its long-awaited sale of blockchain-based securities, netting a total of $10.9m. That move came more than a year after the sale of the first 'crypto-bond' for $5m. Overstock has been active in the blockchain industry since early 2014 when it became one of the first retailers to accept bitcoin. For more details, revisit Medici president Jonathan Johnson's look back at the decision in our new "Bitcoin Milestones" essay series.