Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, reiterated his commitment to cryptocurrency technology and his vision of disrupting Wall Street.
His company became one of the first big names to accept bitcoin for payment. It launched its Medici project last year as one of the earlier known efforts to bring crypto technology to securities trading. Recently, it issued a ‘cryptobond’ on its ‘TØ.com platform’, and has applied for SEC approval of its grander ‘cryptosecurity’ plans.
Byrne has long been a vocal critic of Wall Street, in the past taking aim at its practices including naked short selling.
Speaking to The Street, Byrne clarified that the company in fact has no need for the actual bond itself. Rather, “it’s just to prove that the piping works on the system we’ve created.”
During the interview, he made reference to the supposed “rigging” which takes places on Wall Street, and explained that the laws of the mathematics behind cryptocurrency technology cannot be rigged.
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Asked if the whole initiative is related to Overstock’s growth strategy or just a personal interest, Byrne said that it will be beneficial for the company, and that he does have a personal vested interest (he did not explain if it fits into the company’s other business strategies).
Two-thirds of the money made on Wall Street, Byrne believes, is made in an area that can be disrupted. Wall Street’s role in finance has changed since years ago- it essentially supplies computer and code, which is something Silicon Valley can do a whole lot better.
He mentioned the ‘crawl, walk and run’ approach being taken for his project, whereby the stakes will be raised and new modules will be rolled out in the coming months. He claimed that Overstock’s technology is ‘at least a year ahead’ of competing efforts.
He also took aim at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While it has improved, he has suspected the agency of acting as the ‘handmaiden’ of Wall Street, and not serving the interests of the broader public. Through his project, he wants to “clean up Wall Street.”
The SEC has much to gain, as such an initiative does their work for them. Should it not gain approval in the US, Byrne said he’ll take it elsewhere; companies in other countries have been “pounding on their door to get involved with this.”