Overstock’s security token platform tZERO is going full crypto.
Until now, security tokens had been the startup’s priority, but this summer, tZERO plans to launch its own mobile trading app for buying and selling bitcoin and, possibly, ether, CEO Saum Noursalehi told CoinDesk Thursday.
The app for IOS and Android devices is scheduled to launch in June and is being developed by Bitsy — a crypto startup in the portfolio of Overstock’s venture arm Medici Ventures.
“That’s part of the reason we acquired Bitsy — to accelerate time to market for our mobile app,” Noursalehi told CoinDesk, adding:
“They have an app for trading crypto, primarily bitcoin, in a beta-phase, they built a wallet and key recovery mechanism, and this will be the foundation of the mobile app for tZERO. They are also working on some cool stuff like biometric login.”
The app, he added, will allow users to hold custody of their crypto without relying on a third party, and will plug into a network of exchanges through tZERO’s partner, institutional trading platform SFox.
tZERO’s app will connect to SFox’s network of exchanges via its API, Noursalehi said, but this is only a beginning of what the company envisions.
One app to trade them all
In the future, tZERO says it’s going to hold its own crypto treasury to satisfy user demand.
When tZERO acquires a retail broker-dealer license (for which it’s filing now), the app will allow users to trade security tokens listed at tZERO and even traditional stock — all in one app, Noursalehi said.
As of now, the company said it wants to hire the right people to fit the plan.
Already onboard is Elliot Grossman, former managing director at Dinosaur Financial Group, currently tZERO’s broker-dealer, who will lead the future retail broker-dealer as a CEO.
As for the security tokens, since tZERO’s alternative trading system (ATS) launched in January, so far only its own native tZERO Preferred (TZEROP) token has been available. But, the onboarding of new issuers is on the way, Noursalehi said.
According to Noursalehi, additional companies are now talking to tZERO’s team, including real estate, private equity and venture funds, as well as private companies in the technology, pharmaceuticals and even food and beverage industries.
“I hope in the next quarter we will sign contracts with them,” Noursalehi said. “We’ve been a bit more selective than other ATS out there, we want to make sure the companies that want to issue tokens with us are well-funded, have revenues and will be around in the next three-four years.”
tZERO is also in the process of integrating a third-party security token platform, so that tokens issued there can be listed on tZERO. However, the name of the platform is not yet public.
tZERO booth image via CoinDesk archives