Overstock Inc.’s blockchain subsidiary, Medici Ventures, made a $6 million Series A investment in Minds, an open-source, blockchain-based crypto social network.
Under the partnership, Overstock founder and CEO Patrick Byrne joined Minds Inc.’s board of directors.
“There has been increasing excitement in recent years over the power of blockchain technology to liberate individuals and organizations,” Byrne said in statement. “Minds’ work employing blockchain technology as a social media application is the next great innovation.”
Minds launched in 2015 and boasts more than 1 million members. It’s a blockchain-based alternative to Facebook, Twitter, and the Google-owned YouTube that promises strict user privacy and unfettered free speech.
Minds recently unveiled its own crypto token on the Ethereum Mainnet as a way for users to boost their content. Users can also earn Minds tokens through active engagement on the platform.
Minds Takes On Facebook and Google
Bill Ottman, the founder and CEO of Minds, said he believes partnering with Overstock can advance their vision of a decentralized social network that will not censor free speech and provides enhanced user privacy — features that social-media monopoly Facebook has been accused of trampling.
Facebook recently came under fire from both liberal and conservative commentators after mass-purging accounts whose content it considered “offensive.”
In early-October 2018, Facebook mass-deleted 800 political pages and accounts, claiming they violated one of its secret rules.
Owners of the affected accounts called the purge thinly-veiled censorship and said Facebook’s policies were arbitrary and opaque.
Around the same time, Facebook also started blocking links to Minds. Bill Ottman said his users will never face that problem, because Minds is totally transparent.
“Minds’ foundational principles — privacy, transparency, free speech — are essential,” Ottman told the Daily Caller in August 2018. “All of our code is open-source, meaning anyone can look at it.”
In contrast, Ottman said Facebook lacks transparency because it selectively censors content and “shadow-bans” certain groups.
“The reality is that they (Facebook, Twitter, Google) are punishing certain pages, and we don’t know why because they won’t share their code,” he explained.
Ottman: Facebook and Google Censor Speech
Ottman said Minds is centered around a strict principle of free speech. “Censorship affects both the left and right, and Internet freedom benefits all,” he said.
In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Ottman said Google arbitrarily banned Minds Inc. from its AdSense advertising platform. “It’s actually a symptom of a bigger problem of censorship,” he said.
Ottman said Minds is building its own ad network to compete with Google to take on what he considers the search-engine monopoly’s draconian policies.
Overstock champions crypto and blockchain
Meanwhile, Overstock continues to be a trailblazer in its support of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
As CCN.com reported, Overstock was one of the first mainstream companies to accept bitcoin payments. The Internet retail juggernaut also has a venture capital arm devoted exclusively to blockchain investments.
One of Overstock’s blockchain subsidiaries — tZero — is now worth more than the entire company, after Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital invested $270 million to buy a 15% stake in the security token exchange operator at a $1.5 billion valuation.
Overstock’s blockchain investments now comprise a whopping 60% of the firm’s total value, according to D.A. Davidson analyst Tom Forte.