Following the return of Patrick Byrne, Bitcoin advocate and Overstock founder and CEO, the company has announced the appointment of a new chief for their blockchain unit. In the press release, Byrne said that all of the company’s bitcoin and blockchain projects will continue to grow and innovate under the new leadership.
Byrne Names New Blockchain Unit Chief
Overstock’s chairman of the board, Jonathan Johnson, was named president of Medici, Overstock’s group of blockchain technology and fintech businesses.
According to Overstock’s press release, Byrne said:
“under Johnson’s leadership, Medici’s initiatives, including t0.com, and investments in Bitt.com, PeerNova and IdentityMind, will continue to grow and innovate while differentiating themselves in a competitive and fast-growing marketplace. Johnson will remain in his position as chairman.”
Johnson previously worked as an attorney and the General Counsel and CFO of TenFold. He joined Overstock in September 2002 as the head of its legal department. Since then, he has held various roles at the company, including president for five years, as well as acting CEO.
Johnson recently ran for the Governor of Utah, challenging incumbent Gary Herbert. Byrne, who has been working with Johnson for 14 years, supported his campaign, donating approximately $850,000 USD. However, Herbert defeated Johnson in the GOP primary.
Overstock’s Blockchain Projects
Not only was Overstock among the first large businesses to accept bitcoin for payments, but it has also engaged in various blockchain projects and investments.
In 2015, the company disclosed that it spent $8 million on blockchain projects. Medici unveiled its blockchain platform t0 in August 2015, and in March of this year, it announced that it had used that platform to issue stock. Then, in April, the company invested in Barbados bitcoin startup Bitt for a total of $16 million, in increments of $4 million.
Byrne’s vision for Bitt is to create a new, bitcoin-based economy across the Caribbean. Bitt has already partnered with the central bank of Barbados to start working towards that goal directly. In the next few years, Bitt plans to offer the local fiat currencies in digital form within their bitcoin wallet, approved by their own central banks, for every country across the bank-deprived region.
Johnson Enthusiastic About Blockchain’s Potential
According to Pymnts.com, Johnson is “one of many anti-establishment types” employed by Overstock.com, sharing similar visions with Byrne.
Vouching for Johnson’s enthusiasm for blockchains, Byrne said, “I’m thrilled he will be leading Medici as we pioneer the application of the blockchain to financial systems.”
Byrne conveyed that since Johnson shares his “pro-freedom instincts,” he also shares his “excitement about the blockchain revolution’s potential to reduce society’s dependency upon certain rent-seeking and capture-prone centralized institutions.”
Do you think Johnson will do as good a job as Byrne did? Let us know in the comment section below.
Images courtesy of Business Insider, hirejj.com, YouTube.