Overstock's Medici Ventures takes stake in Symbiont

Overstock's Medici Ventures takes stake in Symbiont

Medici Ventures, the blockchain roll-up platform of e-commerce retailer Overstock, has made an undisclosed investment in Symbiont.

Medici Ventures has a growing portfolio of groundbreaking blockchain-focused investments, including t0.com, Peernova, Bitt, SettleMint, Factom, and IdentityMind, Spera and Symbiont. The company’s majority-owned financial technology company, t0.com, executed the world’s first blockchain-based stock offering in December 2016.

Symbiont is currently collaborating with the State of Delaware on upcoming new legislation that would enable corporations to use distributed ledgers for record-keeping purposes and to keep track of stock transactions. Overstock plans to be among the first state-incorporated entities to take advantage of the new rules.

Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures and a director of Overstock.com, says: “We look forward to Medici Ventures becoming one of the first Delaware entities to convert its registration to blockchain form at the State of Delaware using the new Delaware blockchain amendments, which take effect August 1, 2017.

“We also anticipate using blockchain to administer Medici Ventures’ fund interests from inception, thereby providing our investors with end-to-end recordkeeping on a blockchain and administration of investor interests using smart contracts. We expect to deliver best-in-class investor transparency.”

A host of Wall Street heavyweights, including former Nyse Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer, joined a $1.25 million seed funding round for Symbiont back in 2015. Disclosed users of its platform now include nineteen financial institutions for Smart Loans, arranged by Credit Suisse and executed via Synaps, its syndicated loans joint venture with Ipreo; the State of Delaware for Smart Records; a major European insurance company for Smart Swaps in the catastrophe insurance market; Orebits, a provider of asset digitisation services; and PrivateMarket.io, an alternative assets platform

Mark Smith CEO and co-founder of Symbiont, says of the new interest from Medici Ventures: “Management of fund interests is a logical extension of Symbiont’s Smart Securities capabilities, and we welcome a partner that is equally committed to the principle of ensuring accuracy of shareholder records at all times during a company’s life cycle.”

Overstock’s CEO and founder, Dr. Patrick Byrne, is excited about the opportunities being opened in Delaware: “When Overstock went public in our IPO in 2002, I had no choice but to sign over ownership of my personal shares to the DTC’s Cede & Co. Thanks to Delaware’s new law, entrepreneurs won’t be forced into such a Faustian bargain anymore as the admission ticket into the club of publicly-traded companies because Delaware is giving entrepreneurs a path to retaining direct ownership of their shares after their IPOs. We are studying opportunities opened by Delaware’s new law for Overstock’s shareholders to gain direct ownership of our OSTK shares at some point.”

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