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Online Retailer Overstock Takes Stake in Blockchain Startup SettleMint

Online retailer Overstock has invested in SettleMint, the Belgian-based blockchain voting startup, the latest in a series of similar investments from the Utah-based etailer.

Through its investment arm, Medici Ventures, Overstock has invested an undisclosed amount in the startup, which it is hoped could revolutionize voting in the digital age, through the use of secure blockchain technologies.

The news comes following the investment of $4 million in digital exchange company Bitt, in addition to its stakes in Identity Mind and PeerNova, to name a few, as the company looks to aggressively expand its exposure to the burgeoning blockchain technology industry.

SettleMint aims to use blockchain technology to count and record votes, with implications far beyond politics. It is thought the technology could also be utilized for shareholder voting, and major geopolitical organizations like the EU have already expressed interest in utilizing SettleMint blockchain technologies in this way.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said the investment in SettleMint recognizes the impact the technology could have in strengthening trust in democratic results, as well as its future potential across other markets.

“Two years ago we identified six functions that will be fundamental to this new age, one of which was voting,” Byrne said. “Among SettleMint’s several great attractions to Medici Ventures’ capital has been their early work on blockchain voting. The immutability and universal accessibility of the blockchain make it the perfect technology for achieving higher confidence in the democratic process, for everyone.”

So confident is Overstock in this fledgling, developing technology, it intends to issue stock of its own via a blockchain offering in the weeks ahead, partnering up with Source Capital Group to get the deal through.

With Overstock already booking substantial losses on its investment arm thanks to heavy investments in blockchain startups, it is easy to deduce their bullish view of the prospects for blockchain in future.

The challenge now rests with companies like SettleMint, and their ability to execute the technological leg of their offering, as they strive to overhaul yet another market through new applications for blockchain and deliver a return to early adopting investors like Overstock, and the various other major companies sponsoring the development of commercial applications for the blockchain.