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Overstock Will Issue a Private Bond Powered by Bitcoin Tech

Overstock Will Issue a Private Bond Powered by Bitcoin Tech WIRED


OVERSTOCK.COM IS PREPARING to offer a $25 million private bond using the blockchain, the distributed online ledger that underpins the bitcoin digital currency.

Earlier this week, the online retailer circulated a document among hedge funds, private equity groups, and other potential Wall Street investors indicating it was offering such a bond. Company CEO Patrick Byrne, the circular says, “believes that cryptotechnology can do for the capital market what the internet has done for consumers”—a reference to the type of technology that drives bitcoin.

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Baby steps.

On one level, the bond is a mere curiosity—a security issued in a slightly different way. But Byrne sees it as a step towards a public stock market driven by blockchain-like technology—a replacement for the types of systems that run the NASDAQ and New York stock exchanges. Overseen by cryptographic algorithms, such a market would potentially be more transparent, more reliable, and more secure that then existing system. “There are all kinds of ways to rig the market,” Byrne tells WIRED. “We want to make it un-rig-able.”