“We have realized we are scaring the establishment with how disruptive t0’s blockchain is,” says Dr. Patrick Byrne, CEO and founder of t0 (tzero.com), a majority owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, in an interview with Crypto Insider. t0 is an early developer of cryptographic, distributed ledger, blockchain and fintech solutions for finance that has publicly traded a security on a blockchain system via a proof-of-concept.
“Disruption can actually be dangerous if it’s that disruptive.” says Dr. Byrne. “Frankenstein was disruptive. It became dangerous, because the scientists hadn’t thought through their work. There are a lot of people on Wall Street who want to see the industry transformed, and others who the last thing they want to see is it transformed.”
At one time, Dr. Byrne was a one man Occupy Wall Street. The Overstock founder, who might be seen wearing a coat with leather fringe, a collarless button-down blazer without lapels or traditional Chinese garment, took Overstock public in 2002. That’s when Dr. Byrne started getting an inside look at the way things are.
“When you are a public company CEO, you are out there mixing it up with the hedge fund crowd, bankers and regulators,” explains Dr. Byrne. “I gradually came to the conclusion that the fix was in and came to that conclusion simply because people asked me to take part in certain things.”
Dr. Byrne started going public with his assessment of Wall Street around 2005. “I was pilloried in the press from 2005-2008,” Dr. Byrne recalls. “A hedge fund manager asked to meet me in January 2007, and he said something I would never forget word for word. He told me, ‘Patrick, I want you to know, you’re the single most hated man on Wall Street I’ve ever seen in my entire life. You used to be a golden boy, but now one could kill people and wouldn’t be as hated as much as Wall Street hates you.’”
The irreverent Byrne considered that “high praise” indeed. “Here at t0, we were the first to recognize we could take this technology under bitcoin, the blockchain, and remake Wall Street,” elaborates Dr. Byrne. “We could use blockchain to create versions of capital markets where a bunch of the mischief that goes on on Wall Street is actually impossible in the first place. We’ve built out a system that can shrink Wall Street’s costs 80-90%. This creates an opportunity for mischief to go away. While some on Wall Street like that, others do not.”
Dr. Byrne, who recently proposed in a lecture at Corvinus University in Budapest that it might be useful to think of civilization as a form of operating system, tells Crypto Insider he welcomes the notion that Wall Street will disrupt itself.
“We are not off in some other universe playing with toys,” contends Byrne. “We bought an alternative trading system and we built on top of it all this blockchain stuff. We are fully integrated into Wall Street.”
Medici Ventures, the umbrella company under which Dr. Byrne’s blockchain advancing companies operate, added numerous blockchain companies in recent months. Most recently, Medici Ventures invested in Bitcoin consumer financial service platform Ripio per a Series A financing. Overstock.com will take an observer’s seat in Ripio’s board of directors meetings.
“Ripio has simplified the peer-to-peer payment system in a way that is accessible to anyone with a smartphone, no matter his or her level of technical sophistication,” said Medici Ventures’ President Jonathan Johnson. “This is exactly the type of life-changing application of blockchain technology that Medici Ventures is interested in.”
Medici also invested in PeerNova, which is developing two core data security and financial applications products. PeerNova started by offering a bitcoin mining and transaction processing system designed to scale and deliver 1 PH/s and beyond.
“PeerNova’s team and depth of knowledge in this space impressed the Overstock team,” said Dr. Byrne. “With our knowledge of PeerNova’s projects and Overstock’s suspicion of society’s reliance on centralized systems, we believe that this collaboration forms a win-win. I believe such crypto technologies will solve many social problems that flow from our society’s reliance on centralized systems.”
Medici Ventures also added SettleMint, a fintech firm specializing in developing software leveraging distributed ledger technology. “Medici Ventures is immersed in a global search for outstanding companies poised to disrupt key sectors with blockchain technology,” said Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures. “SettleMint is precisely the kind of company we hoped to find and we’re pleased to be an angel investor at such an early stage of what promises to be a very auspicious future.”
Bitt, a Barbados based financial technology company, received $16 million from Overstock.com.“Bitt has a vision for the Caribbean of frictionless mobile cash, beginning with central banks transparently issuing digital fiat which is then exchanged using a blockchain mechanism (with proper regulatory oversight).” said Byrne. “We respect and endorse that vision, and share a common desire to see online consensual exchange flourish globally.”
t0 purchased Singapore-based Blue Ocean Financial Technology, Pte. Ltd.. The blockchain company envisages Blue Ocean Technology will offer “the first transparent, electronic marketplace for trading U.S.-listed securities during non-U.S. trading hours.”
Medici Ventures announced in February participation in a Series A fundraising for Factom, a blockchain-as-a-service technology for mortgage compliance solutions.“We like what Factom is doing with blockchain technology in the mortgage space,” said Medici Ventures president Jonathan Johnson in a press release at the time. “This is the latest in a series of strategic investments to further position Medici Ventures as the global leader in blockchain technology.”
t0’s current goal, ultimately, is to do more of what they’ve already done, at a broader level. “We broke the speed of sound with tzero platform, and now what we are doing is taking the technology we have built and making it work on a practical level,” Medici Venture Chief Operating Officer Steve Hopkins tells Crypto Insider.
My. Byrne adds: “t0 is currently working on finding someone willing to bring their country up to speed on this.”