Shares in Overstock.com, a somewhat unknown e-commerce website, have seen rapid price increases thanks to their expressed interest in the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain. The stock closed up over 11% yesterday hitting a four-year high. The company have been quietly looking into the potential of blockchain to streamline existing services. The revolutionary technology could elimate the necessity for intermediaries and middlemen. This is achieved via an immutable and public record of all transactions taking place within a network.
The surge in stock prices that the e-commerce site experienced coincided with the likes of JP Morgan Chase and IBM announcing independent blockchain-based initiatives. On Monday, the two stated that they’ll be working with banks to create a more efficient system to streamline global payments using blockchain tech as the basis. Tom Forte, an analyst at wealth management firm DA Davidson told CNBC:
It is encouraging to see legacy financial services acknowledging the potential of the blockchain to disrupt and transform the financial services industry. This is adding further fuel to the Overstock fire as investors [see the company’s] early stage investments in blockchain.
Overstock have been working on blockchain for a number of years now and even have a division within the organisation devoted to the technology. It’s known as Medici Ventures and was one of the deciding factors for Marc Cohodes, a long-term investor and trader to move into the stock.
CNBC reports that he visited Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne in June. Suitably impressed, he quickly took up a position. The short seller commented on the way blockchain could be beneficial for Overstock and similar company’s customers and in turn, the businesses themselves. He also made a surprisingly bullish prediction for the website’s share value:
You’re not paying anything for blockchain and you’re getting retail at a steep discount… I think the stock’s going to go to $100.
However, like existing blockchain-based investments (namely cryptocurrencies), the stock in Overstock are anything but stable. Just a week ago, the shares surged before crashing 16.4% from their session high. This remained the case until they began to rise again yesterday.