Yesterday, CCN reported that Overstock’s blockchain subsidiary, Medici Ventures, had posted a $3.3 million Q2 loss. That loss followed a Q1 loss of $8.5 million, and the company anticipates Medici will continue to incur losses for the short-term future.
Despite Medici’s losses, Overstock continues to take a long view of its bitcoin and blockchain technology investments. That commitment was evidenced by two major announcements this week.
Overstock’s online marketplace has accepted bitcoin payments since 2014 and has made significant donations to organizations promoting cryptocurrency adoption.
Overstock has announced it has integrated the ShapeShift API into its payment system, enabling customers to make purchases using ether, litecoin, Dash, NEM, or any of the other 40+ altcoins supported by ShapeShift.
Undoubtedly, this move will prove a huge boon for altcoins struggling to step out of bitcoin’s shadow and prove their legitimacy as currency.
Customers will now be greeted by the following image when they reach the payment screen:
ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees lauded the retailer for outpacing its competitors in cryptocurrency adoption:
Overstock’s long history with bitcoin and blockchain technology demonstrates their commitment to innovation….The ShapeShift team could not be more excited for this partnership and are pleased our technology will be helping the next generation of Overstock customers.
For his part, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne – a trained economist who has been a featured speaker at multiple Bitcoin conferences – said the move was motivated by ideology as well as finances:
Overstock is pro-freedom, including the freedom of individuals to communicate information about value and scarcity without relying on a medium created through the fiat of unaccountable government mandarins. For that reason, we have been an early proponent and adopter of cryptocurrencies.
Payment expansion was not Overstock’s only major cryptocurrency announcement. Most companies that accept digital currency payments use a payment processor to exchange their coins for cash.
Overstock, however, has long kept 10% of bitcoin payment funds as investments in cryptocurrencies and cryptosecurities. In a press briefing following the Q2 earnings call, Patrick Byrne revealed the company has received board approval to increase its investment retention ratio to 50%.
We’ve gone from keeping 10% of what’s spent with Bitcoin to keeping 50%. In Bitcoin, we just got board approval for — to keep 50% of what is spent in Bitcoin or in other cryptosecurities. I mean we can keep it either in Bitcoin or in some assortment of cryptosecurities. So you’ll see a portfolio emerge there.
He added that their past digital currency investments have “grown up nicely.”
Featured image from Shutterstock.