Overstock CEO Sells $20 Million In Stock, Plans For Medici Ventures Blockchain Projects As Reinvestments

Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, one of the earliest digital storefronts to accept cryptocurrency and still one of the largest to date, sold 10% of his stock last week totaling more than $20 million. The CEO sent an “unusual” letter to the investors explaining his move saying, “I've cashed in 1/10 of my chips.”

He sold more roughly $15.8 million worth of stock based on last week's prices on Thursday and Friday and $4.9 million worth on Monday. Total, the CEO has offloaded about $20 million in stock in the past week — in the same time frame share price has fallen 12 percent. Byrne first disclosed his plans to sell a portion of his stake in March to fund the related side investments.

“I needed to sell stock during this quarter to meet such other obligations. I am disappointed that I when the deadline arrived for my sales this quarter, the stock had dropped (I sadly note that over the last 180 days the correlation between OSTK's and Bitcoin's daily movements has been 85.5%, and again warn people: we don't have significant holdings of Bitcoin).”

Byrne also asserted that, over the course of 18 years at Overstock, he has “only ever sold a tiny sliver” of his stake and for most of those years he did not draw a salary. Byrne noted that for the last several months he drew “$100,000 so as to avoid being one of those schmucks who does not draw a salary.”

Byrne mentioned several reasons behind his decision, one of them is to reinvest most of the fund into two co-investments with Overstock and Medici Ventures, which is a venture capital established by Overstock to use the company's fund to invest in the blockchain.

The Salt Lake City-based online retailer is best known for selling products like furniture, home decor, and jewelry. But the company is also moving aggressively into the blockchain space. Overstock launched its Medici Ventures division in 2014 to oversee those blockchain investments and Byrne has said he plans to reorganize or sell the e-commerce business to focus on the technology underpinning bitcoin.

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