Overstock Subsidiary Invests in Caribbean Bitcoin Startup Bitt
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Medici Ventures, the subsidiary of popular online retailer Overstock, has announced that it will be investing 3 million United States Dollars in the Barbados-based blockchain oriented company, Bitt. According to a press release, the move will grant the company an increase in ownership by 8.6 percent.
Bitt is a company that first appeared in 2015 as a mobile payment platform designed specifically for the Caribbean market, beginning with Barbados. Since then, the company has been developing its digital commerce system on top of distributed ledger technology, or blockchains. Medici Ventures already has a significant stake in the company, with the original investment of $4 million being made as early as 2016. Shortly prior to Overstock’s investment in that year, Bitt had launched its own digital version of the Barbadian Dollar on the bitcoin blockchain.
The President of Medici Ventures, Jonathan Johnson, said,
“Bitt has created a blockchain-based payments ecosystem that is useful for every day transactions. It has positioned itself as a clear leader in applying blockchain technology to solve real-world problems.”
In February 2018, Bitt announced a partnership with the Caribbean island, Montserrat, to introduce its digital payments platform in the region. Given that smaller economies, such as the ones present in the Caribbean, often struggle with financial institutions and liquidity, it is easy to see how unified blockchain-based alternatives, such as the one proposed by Bitt, will be able to change that. The company is looking to enable the purchase of goods and services using the Barbados digitized currency, that can be accessed and transferred in supported areas through a mobile app.
The CEO of Bitt, Rawdon Adams, was also optimistic about the investment. His statement in the press release included,
“Bitt is in a unique position to provide the solutions to boost both financial inclusion and overall economic performance through its blockchain-based software. That’s already being recognized by regional governments overseeing economies characterized by large informal sectors, persistently high rates of poverty and expensive traditional financial services. I thank Medici Ventures for their support of our mission.”
Overstock’s Medici Ventures division, founded in 2014, has been making a significant investment in applications and companies demonstrating the use of blockchain technology. Another subsidiary of the company, tZero, had also announced the launch of an initial coin offering (ICO) in November 2017. At the time, Medici’s portfolio of investments included nine different companies, all associated in some way or the other with blockchain technology.