Overstock, the online retailer who announced in November 2018 that they were divesting of their retail business and going 100% into crypto, launched a wallet and exchange app Thursday through their primary crypto startup, tZERO. tZERO announced in March that the wallet and exchange were on the way, slating a June launch, which they have achieved with three days to spare. Initially supporting Bitcoin and Ethereum, the mobile app claims to be more secure than “vulnerable, third-party exchanges” and will utilize biometric authentication for extra security and ease of use.
— Saum Noursalehi (@Noursalehi) June 27, 2019
tZERO began life in 2017, with Overstock CEO Gabriel Byrne stating that he hoped the platform would “open a new type of capital market.” The tZero exchange will work based upon a ‘dark pool’ system, matching buyers and sellers anonymously, with the end goal being to create an alternative to the NASDAQ but based on the blockchain. In a conversation with Reuters, tZERO Chief Executive Officer Saum Noursalehi said of the release of tZero after almost a year and a half of development:
One of my goals since I joined the company is to provide an intuitive user experience on both mobile and the web to trade all digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. The new app will become the foundation of trading all digital assets for tZERO, whether it’s art, real estate, or private companies.
Financial Troubles Overcome
Overstock is currently in the red to the tune of around $170 million, with tZERO publicly outed last year as one of the reasons for this, burning through $2 million per month at the time. Since then the project seems to have stepped up its game ahead of launch date, tying up deals with New York-based Dinosaur Financial Group and PRO Securities to offer the trading of security tokens, although the project received a huge blow at the start of March when two firms, Makara Capital and GSR Capital, downgraded their investment from $404 million to $100 million and then missed the investment deadline of mid-April. In May, tZERO finally secured $5 million in investment from GSR, some 2% of what they thought they were getting back in March, valuing tZERO at $1 billion. These funding issues don’t seem to have hampered development however, and a successful product launch might help secure funding for further development.