No R3: Overstock Plots Blockchain Consortium For 'Everyone Else'

Online retail giant and upstart blockchain innovator Overstock has begun working to build its own blockchain consortium.

Oct 5, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:32 p.m. UTC

Online retail giant and upstart blockchain innovator Overstock has begun work on its own blockchain consortium.

To be called "Revolution 4", the project is envisioned as a way for the company, long one of the most bullish on blockchain, to share its technology and regulatory expertise as it relates to the emerging tech. In a new interview, Revolution 4 president John Tabacco said Overstock is seeking to launch the effort for small businesses, FinTech firms and startups, and that it is currently seeking partners.

Tabacco lauded the work R3 has done in creating a meeting place for large banks and institutions, however, he expressed a desire to extend the startup's model to participants that haven't yet been courted by the industry's dominant collaborative, or that have been priced out of the group.

Tabacco told CoinDesk:

"There’s the large banks and the entrenched incumbents, and then there's everyone else in the world. But, if you’re going to change the paradigm and organically innovate, you have to have access to valuable resources."

Tabacco indicated Overstock has a few potential members so far interested in the offering, but that he has company CEO Patrick Byrne's "full blessing" in pursuing the idea to fruition.

Notably, he suggested Overstock isn't interested in using the consortium as a way to develop technologies that would serve these members, a move that appears counter to the strategy of R3 and its work on its own distributed ledger platforms.

"The hope is we can use this innovation marketplace as a backbone and then, we can work with members to strategically partner," Tabacco said. "The idea is not to sell something back to our members, it's to make all participants' overall product offering better."

The news follows increasing competition among blockchain consortium efforts, though to date most of these initiatives have been centered on geographic regions.

In recent months, for example, consortium efforts have sprung up in Russia and China amid a rise in enterprise interest in the emerging technology.

Overstock indicated there would be a membership fee for enrollment, but stopped short of offering any timelines for a formal launch.

Bull stampede image via Shutterstock

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