SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK) has announced that its blockchain-meets-property rights subsidiary, Medici Land Governance, has signed an agreement with the World Bank to support the design, implementation, and evaluation of pilot programs that will create systems to ensure secure land tenure.
Recent advances in technology, including increased mobile internet penetration and distributed ledger technology, can secure property rights at scale in ways unimaginable even a decade ago. To unleash this potential, Medici Land Governance will collaborate with the World Bank to conduct national-level pilots that will address both regulatory and technological innovation. The World Bank will also oversee careful evaluation of the pilots to assess their social and economic impacts.
The lack of secure, well-documented land property rights is a key obstacle to development around the world. Without documentation, communities have little protection against speculative land grabs, and land markets that could drive structural transformation cannot emerge. Additionally, in many regions, women are unable to easily gain rightful ownership over land to access credit for entrepreneurial activity, limiting their financial empowerment and social mobility. Finally, poor documentation means that governments lack the information needed to tax land and plan urban expansion and provides an environment where fraud and corruption have room to proliferate. Such corruption undermines trust in national institutions that are the bedrock of social and economic development.
“I have long viewed land and property governance as an application of blockchain technology that has far-reaching implications. From the positive social change it can foster, to its potential to empower individuals financially, to the promise it holds for the economic development of entire nations, blockchain can help the developing world secure the property rights infrastructure needed to overcome many of its challenges,” said Patrick M. Byrne, founder and Chairman of Medici Land Governance, and founder and CEO of its parent company, Overstock.com. “I have long been aware of and had tremendous respect for the research conducted by the World Bank, and, in particular, their awareness of the pivotal role of women in development. Partnering with the World Bank’s research group will permit us to combine the Bank’s global reach, ability to build local capacity, and experience in policy change with the technical expertise that is needed to ensure emerging technologies are used in ways that are socially beneficial, particularly for women.”
“Joining forces with Medici Land Governance allows the Bank to provide our client countries access to cutting edge technology, work with the countries on adapting the technology to their context, and then document the impact of the updated process,” said Klaus Deininger, Lead Economist at the World Bank. “We are excited about the opportunities this collaboration offers us to generate transformative innovations and make the case for greater public and private investment in an area that is key for development.”
The project will focus on increasing security of rights to individual and communal land and reducing the cost of securing tenure, especially for disadvantaged groups. These changes will create a foundation for efficient land transactions and improve access to land information. Data from the project will be used to enhance decision-making by both public and private sector entities.
Medici Land Governance (MLG) was founded in 2018 and is the 14th portfolio company incubated by Overstock’s blockchain technology accelerator Medici Ventures. MLG’s mission is to help individuals around the world connect with the global economy by using blockchain and other technologies to help record rightful ownership of property. Medici Ventures’ mission is to build a blockchain tech stack for civilization: land, money, capital markets, supply chains, and voting.
Overstock.com, Inc. Common Shares (NASDAQ:OSTK) / Series A Preferred (Medici Ventures’ tZERO platform: OSTKP) / Series B Preferred (OTCQX:OSTBP) is an online retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah that sells a broad range of products at low prices, including furniture, décor, rugs, bedding, and home improvement. In addition to home goods, Overstock.com offers a variety of products including jewelry, electronics, apparel, and more, as well as a marketplace providing customers access to hundreds of thousands of products from third-party sellers. Additional stores include Pet Adoptions and Worldstock.com dedicated to selling artisan-crafted products from around the world. Forbes ranked Overstock in its list of the Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in 2014. Overstock regularly posts information about the company and other related matters under Investor Relations on its website, http://www.overstock.com.
About Medici Ventures
Launched in 2014, Medici Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, Inc., created to leverage blockchain technology to solve real-world problems with transparent, efficient and secure solutions. Medici Ventures has a growing portfolio of groundbreaking blockchain-focused investments, including tZERO, Peernova, Bitt, SettleMint, Factom, and IdentityMind, Spera and Symbiont. The company’s majority-owned financial technology company, tZERO, executed the world’s first blockchain-based stock offering in December 2016.
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This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements include all statements other than statements of historical fact. Additional information regarding factors that could materially affect results and the accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained herein may be found in the Company’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2018, which was filed with the SEC on May 8, 2018, and any subsequent filings with the SEC.
SOURCE: Overstock.com, Inc.