E-tail giant Overstock has invested in a Belgium-based blockchain startup.
The seed investment in SettleMint, the amount of which was not disclosed, was made by Medici Ventures, a venture arm of Overstock that is focused on its blockchain-based trading platform initiative. In April, Overstock invested $4m in Caribbean digital currency exchange Bitt, and the firm has stakes in other companies like PeerNova and Identity Mind as part of its crypto-exchange project.
According to the e-tailer, the investment in SettleMint is aimed, in part, at shoring up the voting capabilities for its tø platform. The startup recently unveiled a new voting tool geared toward this year's US presidential election.
Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock, said in a statement:
The proposed use of the technology to enable shareholder voting has gained steam in the past year, leading organizations like the EU Parliament's research outfit to propose using bitcoin as a basis for cataloging votes. Major proxy voting vendors like Broadridge have also begun working in this year.
The investment represents another step in the company’s ramp up to blockchain-based stock trading, as Overstock is planning to begin conducting an offering of its own stock via blockchain next month.
Earlier this week, announced a new partnership with Connecticut-based investment bank Source Capital Group, which will serve as dealer-manager for the offering. Overstock has also been investing heavily in the project, booking a $3m pretax loss in the third quarter of last year on its Medici business line.
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