Overstock.com's much-anticipated security token trading platform, tZERO, officially began trading Thursday afternoon.
The company announced in a press release that its secondary market for tZERO's own security tokens had gone live, marking the first step toward trading other digital assets on the platform.
Accredited investors can sign up to trade tZERO tokens through Dinosaur Financial Group, LLC, which is acting as the "introducing," or customer-facing, broker-dealer.
TZERO subsidiary Pro Securities LLC is providing the alternative trading system (ATS) to trade the tokens.
Investors in the tZERO token offering have long been waiting for the platform's launch, after its initial unveiling in 2015. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne announced that the exchange would launch this week during The North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami on January 18, later telling CoinDesk that the technology was ready, but the company needed to finish processing its initial sign-ups first.
The launch is within the timeframe given previously by Jonathan Johnson, president of Overstock subsidiary Medici Ventures, who told CoinDesk last December that the platform would begin trading tZERO tokens by the end of January.
Several days before the launch, some users on the company's Telegram noted that the registration process with Dinosaur, which began earlier this month, had been taking several days to complete. Customers similarly complained that communications with the broker-dealer were prolonged, with even wire transfer confirmations taking days to arrive.
Late Thursday, some investors were still waiting to get started.
“I signed up last week, and tokens listed as pending transfer today. I expect them to be tradable tomorrow,” investor Mark Nelson told CoinDesk. “The account is open so it is approved, just waiting on the completion of the token transfer.”
Long time coming
Overstock has been gearing up to launch tZERO for years. A months-long token sale to raise $134 million, using a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens framework, concluded last August.
The company had previously demonstrated how its platform could operate with a prototype unveiled in April 2018. At the time, tZERO's then-president Joe Cammarata anticipated launching the security token trading software in May 2018.
The company shuffled its leadership last week in anticipation of the launch, shifting Medici's chief operating officer, Steve Hopkins, to act as tZERO's president. In the process, the company promoted Medici's chief technology officer, Joel Weight, to COO of the venture fund.
The company declined to explain what Hopkins' exact role would be.
The company has also been hired by private equity firm GSR Capital to develop a token for trading cobalt. The security token will aid in identifying, tracking and purchasing cobalt, and may ultimately lead to the development of a tZERO-like platform in Asia.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to specify Hopkins' role.
Anna Baydakova contributed reporting.
Patrick Byrne photo via CoinDesk archives.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.