DAVIDSON: Overstock.com is the 'clear leader' of emerging blockchain stocks

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Patrick Byrne, OverstockAP Photo/George FreyOverstock CEO Patrick Byrne



A slew of companies, from iced tea bottlers to casino game makers, have boosted their stock price by pivoting to blockchain in recent weeks.

But Overstock.com, which was one of the first to accept bitcoin as payment as well as issue blockchain-based stock, is still the clear leader, D.A. Davidson said in a note to clients Wednesday.

"Our research increased our conviction that, today and likely in the near-term, Overstock stands head and shoulders above the others, when it comes to having developed a portfolio of companies with significant efforts to exploit blockchain technology," analyst Tom Forte said.

Overstock.com had an impressive 2017. Its stock has risen 265% in the last 12 months, and Davidson thinks it could go as high as $85 - 30% above the stock's $65 opening price Wednesday.

The company also has a wholly-owned blockchain subsidiary, known as Medici Ventures, which includes a blockchain trading platform called TZero. Overstock took a $3.3 million hit from the rollout in 2017, Bloomberg reported, but the blockchain efforts - regardless of financial performance - helped offset any declines in share price from disappointing earnings.

Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures, told Business Insider last July it's "crazy that so many retailers don't accept bitcoin." As of August 2017, Overstock was processing about $50,000 per week of purchases using bitcoin. Of the leading 500 internet retailers, just three accept bitcoin.

"The disparity between virtually no merchant acceptance and bitcoin's rapid appreciation is striking," Morgan Stanley said in a note last year.

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