Remember Overstock? It's basically a crypto company now
As an online retailer, Overstock is in bad shape. It keeps losing money, and its sales growth is far behind Amazon. But the company doesn't think that matters. Overstock is going all in on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Shares of Overstock (OSTK) surged more than 15% on Friday after the company announced an investment of almost $375 million from GSR Capital, a Hong Kong private equity firm. Overstock wants to be more than just an also-ran in online retail. To jump-start growth, it is investing heavily in blockchain technology, the digital ledger that keeps records of transactions in virtual currencies. The company has a cryptocurrency unit called tZERO as well as a subsidiary named Medici Ventures that invests in blockchain companies. The dramatic rise in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a big reason Overstock is pushing forward with blockchain deals and de-emphasizing the retail business.But that's not without risk. Shares of Overstock have been riding the bitcoin (XBT) wave for the past year. The stock has soared more than 130% over the past 12 months, but it has plunged nearly 30% in 2018.