US retail giant Overstock has sold a $5m “cryptobond” to FNY Managed Accounts, a New York-based trading firm.
The sale is part of a proof of concept from the Utah-based e-tailer showcasing how financial instruments can be digitized and traded on cryptographic distributed ledgers such as the bitcoin blockchain. Overstock first began accepting bitcoin in January 2014 and has since been one of the ecosystem’s most active public advocates.
The project was first announced in April and later detailed further in June. At the time, the company announced that CEO Patrick Byrne had purchased a $500,000 cryptobond. Overstock has said it could sell as much as $25m in cryptobonds as part of the project.
The cryptobond sold to FNY will pay 7% interest over a five-year period. As an added security precaution, Overstock will issue a $5m loan to the firm with a 3% annual interest, an arrangement the company said would “transfer the economic risk associated with the failure of the technology”. Both agreements come with their own put and call terms.
As part of the deal, the release suggested that FNY’s HYDRATrade, its proprietary market access software, would integrate with Overstock’s tØ.com cryptosecurities trading platform.
Overstock indicated that the reciprocal loan was unlikely to be extended to any future users of tØ.com. However, it specified the types of customers with which it will seek to do business going forward, writing:
“The offering of the digital cryptodebt is being made exclusively to qualified institutional buyers that meet the definition of ‘accredited investor’.”
Accredited investors were defined as those who are compliance with Rule 506(c) of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933. Under the terms of the rule, Overstock said it may sell its securities to an unlimited number of accredited investors and up to 35 other purchasers.
Overstock also hinted at the complex regulatory process it expected to encounter when first launching its attempt to build a decentralized stock exchange last year, suggesting the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not approved the offering.
Overstock intends to hold a launch party to celebrate the issuance at NASDAQ’s New York headquarters this Tuesday.
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