Overstock’s CEO will sell the company’s retail business to focus on blockchain

November 23, 2018, 3:39PM EDT

Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock, an online retail store, told The Wall Street Journal, on Friday, that he plans on selling Overstock's retail business in a deal expected to wrap up by February 2019. Bryne is an ardent believer of blockchain technology and cryptoassets. As CEO of Overstock, he led the company's investment in Medici Ventures, a fully-owned unit which incubates startups using blockchain technology. Some startups under the Medici Ventures umbrella include tZero, a platform designed to support the trading of security tokens and Voatz, a blockchain-enabled voting solution.

Overstock's investment in Medici Ventures has been costly for the company and its shareholders. Medici Ventures lost $39M through the first nine months of 2018 and lost $22m in 2017. Shares in Overstock are down 66% this year. However, after today's announcement Overstock's shares grew as much as 26%. (Source: WSJ)