Medici Ventures, a blockchain/crypto specific division of Overstock.com, has acquired Bitsy.com in an effort to finally merge the worlds of online retail with decentralized, digital cash facilitated by the Bitsy’s new biometric wallet. The Crypto Winter, assuming it ends at some point, might be best defined by what companies in the space did to prepare for the future, to consolidate and increase relative positions as others retreated.
Overstock’s Medici Acquires Bitsy
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne announced, “Bitsy sets a new standard for cryptocurrency wallets. It is a game-changer because it gives users the freedom that bitcoin has always promised. This new Bitsy wallet has extraordinary advantage in convenience versus anything currently on the market. In addition to setting a new standard for cryptocurrency wallets, integrating with Bitsy will allow Overstock to take the next step in its cryptocurrency journey by allowing the company to offer bitcoin for sale directly from the retail website.”
As the press release elaborated, in addition to its acquisition, Bitsy “has commenced the limited beta launch of a digital wallet service that creates a simple, secure, and convenient bridge between traditional fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies.”
Indeed, Bitsy has an interesting niche when compared to crypto banks and exchanges. They do not hold clients’ keys, and are therefore able to avoid liability when it comes to matching buyers and sellers. The company is at once keen to insist they comply with the myriad of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, but won’t ever involve themselves in censoring transactions for less than strictly illegal activity. Having such a company, often referred to as a ‘bridge,’ further allows frictionless international crypto transfers in accordance with Overstock’s plans, something centralized, more established exchanges avoid at all cost.
It’s just the latest company to be scooped up by Medici, of which terms were not immediately disclosed. In the last couple of years, it has gobbled up firms in the ecosystem such as Ripio, Tzero, and Bitt. Overstock’s very visible CEO, Mr. Byrne, has been a vocal, full-throated supporter of everything crypto, earning the community’s trust even though the online retailer’s business is helped in only fractions of a percent by being crypto friendly. Overstock accepts “dozens of cryptocurrencies,” the company insisted, and “plans to use the Bitsy service to offer bitcoin for sale on the Overstock website.”
Your Face is Your Key
Overstock’s move looks to be an overt play into the heart of the ecosystem. Bitsy’s latest wallet configuration has as a selling point or marketing ploy known as biometric markers, basically substituting for keys. A face and a fingerprint, that combination, is claimed by the wallet service to be so unique as to supplant the laborious recording and storing of keys.
Its recovery plan is reportedly through a multi-key generation process, allowing a third party to help clients who have wallet issues, coin issues for whatever reason. The company stresses the fact it does not have keys and therefore no access to them, and this, in Bitsy’s reckoning, saves it from one central point of failure with regard to hacks. In other words, users who forget or lose a password will no longer view such as the end of the world.
Bitsy might also fit well with the above mentioned group of crypto companies making up Medici holdings. An early promise of BTC was the giant remittance market, but that hasn’t seemed to have materialized in the way early proponents hoped. The combination of Ripio, Bitt, and Bitsy, Medici insists, could offer lower cost ways to move money internationally, thereby helping even the traditionally unbanked.
President of Medici Jonathan Johnson explained, “Bitsy and the work it is doing dovetails perfectly with Medici Ventures’ goal of investing in companies that are democratizing capital by eliminating middlemen and re-humanizing commerce.”
Would you use a biometric wallet? Would you buy crypto from Overstock.com? Let us know in the comments section below.
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