Overstock Invests $4 Million in Barbados Bitcoin Startup

Stan Higgins
Apr 1, 2016 at 21:24 UTC
Updated Apr 1, 2016 at 21:28 UTC
news

Caribbean digital currency exchange Bitt has received $4m in new funding from online retailer Overstock.com.

The deal, announced today, comes after Bitt’s February launch of a blockchain-backed digital version of the Barbados dollar. The startup raised $1.5m in seed funding last March from local VC firm Avatar Capital.

Bitt CEO Gabriel Abed told CoinDesk that the deal originated at the Satoshi Roundtable, an invite-only industry gathering held in late February.

The funds will be used to expand the company’s team beyond Barbados.

Abed explained:

“We’ll be taking what we’ve done in Barbados and cookie-cutting across the region, badgering legislators and helping with policy reform as it relates to security, consumer protection, privacy and data, and more importantly, no hindrance of the innovation of blockchain technology, and specifically bitcoin.”

Abed said that the startup will look to use some of the funds to satisfy its regulatory requirements.

Declining to comment on whether his startup would play a role in Overstock work using blockchain tech, Abed remarked that the two companies share an active, collaborative relationship.

“Let’s just say the two companies are acting as one big family, and we’re being treated as such,” he said.

Overstock itself is continuing development of its blockchain-powered securities exchange, tØ. The online retailer recently disclosed that it intended to conduct a securities offering of its own stock on the platform, expected to feature the sale of 1 million blockchain-based securities. Overstock’s securities platform was unveiled last August.

In a statement, CEO Patrick Byrne suggested that Overstock’s investment was driven in part by the startup’s work on digital currency-based payments, with an eye to unbanked populations in the region.

“We respect and endorse that vision, and share a common desire to see online consensual exchange flourish globally,” said Byrne. “As they say around these parts, ‘One love’.”

Image via Shutterstock

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