Overstock founder and CEO Patrick Byrne is exiting the retail business so he can focus on blockchain because he believes it’s a disruptive technology that will transform the world.
“The blockchain revolution has a greater potential than anything we’ve seen in history,” Byrne told Fox Business. “It’s bigger than the Internet revolution, how it’s going to restructure society.”
Fox Business host Stuart Varney, an alum of the London School of Economics, asked Byrne how he can be so optimistic when cryptocurrency prices have plunged recently.
Byrne: I Don’t Care About Daily Price Changes
Byrne said focusing on the minutiae of bitcoin’s daily price movements is losing sight of the forest for the trees. “What coins are doing on any given day is silly,” he quipped.
Byrne announced in 2014 that he wanted to pivot from retail to blockchain, and has been making huge progress on this front. “We now have very interesting positions in 19 blockchain companies,” he said.
One of those ventures involves a $6 million investment in an open-source, blockchain-based crypto social network called Minds.
Minds is a blockchain-based alternative to Facebook, Twitter, and the Google-owned YouTube that promises strict user privacy and absolutely no censorship.
Patrick Byrne said 2019 will be a groundbreaking year for the industry.
“Next year is when you will see blockchain really start coming out with products into the world,” he said. “You’ll see blockchain products in Q1.”
When asked what we can expect to see in 2019, Byrne replied: “You’ll be able to trade security tokens. There’s a whole new class of securities coming into existence called security tokens.”
‘Every Stock Will Be Tokenized’
Byrne recalled that Robert Greifeld, the chairman of Nasdaq, predicted in November 2017 that every stock and bond on Wall Street today “could be” tokenized. “In five years, everyone will be tokenized,” Byrne promised.
He added: “The architecture of Wall Street as we know it is going to be deprecated over five years and replaced with security tokens. If that’s true, we built…the New York Stock Exchange of that world. We spent the last four years and $100 million building it.”
When asked why a security token is superior to a stock, Byrne said it’s because of three things:
- 90 percent lower friction costs.
- Complete transparency for regulators.
- Immunity from market manipulation.
“All kinds of mischief that goes on in the current version of Wall Street cannot go on in a blockchain version of Wall Street,” he said.
Byrne conceded that a major drawback of bitcoin mining is its high cost, but said his companies are involved in a project called raven coin, “which has a much different energy profile.”
Tim Draper: ‘Bitcoin Is Bigger Than the Internet’
In his exuberance for crypto technology, Patrick Byrne mirrored the unbridled enthusiasm of billionaire Tim Draper, who recently doubled down on his $250,000 bitcoin price target for 2022.
In April 2018, Draper said bitcoin is “bigger than the Internet.” The venture capitalist — who was an early investor in Tesla, Hotmail, and Skype — said bitcoin will be “bigger than all of those combined,” as CCN reported.
“This is bigger than the Internet,” Draper gushed. “It’s bigger than the Iron Age, the Renaissance. It’s bigger than the Industrial Revolution. This affects the entire world and it’s going to be affected in a faster and more prevalent way than you ever imagined.”
Draper is unfazed by the recent market crash, and remains confident that the global economy will soon transition to crypto, as CCN reported.
“It’s going to be better for people,” he said. “They’re going to move to crypto, and they’re going to go away from the political currency (fiat). That’s the way it’s going to move.”
So how confident is Draper in the future of crypto? So confident that he’s still hodling the entire stash of 40,000 bitcoin he acquired in 2014 at $600 a piece. “This is a new society, and you want to get out in front of it,” he said.