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Overstock Wants to Clean up Food Distribution – and Wall Street

Op-ed - Overstock Wants to Clean up Food Distribution – and Wall Street is expanding its already popular online produce delivery service by teaming up with farmers in 35 states, Retailing Today reports. The partnership means that nearly half of Americans currently have access to this continuously expanding service.

Overstock’s newest fresh-food partner, Front Door Farms, whose products are now offered through Overstock’s Farmers Market, delivers to the customer’s door two or three days after harvest.

“We chose Front Door Farms because it works with local farmers to harvest fruits and vegetables that are fresh and nutritious,” said Overstock CEO Patrick M. Byrne. “Our goal is to deliver fresh produce the way farmers grow it, as opposed to the food-like substances delivered through this nation’s agribusiness supply chains. Products sold in Overstock’s Farmers Market are designed to inspire creativity, fun and imagination in kitchens using the best ingredients.”

That’s very good news for those consumers who prefer to bypass traditional mass-distribution channels and buy directly from food producers for a healthier and greener life. It’s also very good news for bitcoin users, because Overstock is the largest online retailer to accept bitcoin payments for all the products offered via its web store.

Those who are paid in bitcoin and wish to pay in bitcoin for most of the goods and services that they need – a small but fast-growing population – will find Overstock’s new initiative appealing. Buying food in bitcoin is also a useful strategy to escape the growing surveillance of bank transfers to and from bitcoin exchanges and “bitcoin banks,” which could become a bottleneck in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

If banks start rejecting transfers from Circle or Coinbase, consumers will have more options to use their bitcoin directly, without having to go through the banks.

In other Overstock news, the company wants to extend its promotion of fresh and clean ways to Wall Street.

“We have started building things that replace what Wall Street does,” said Byrne to TheStreet, referring to the announcement in June of the first crypto-securities to be offered on the blockchain. “It does them far cheaper, and with far more transparency, and without any of the opportunity for rigging.”

Byrne stated that he is interested in “cleaning up” Wall Street.

Overstock’s platform, known as, can augment other trading exchanges and power financial transactions. Overstock filed a registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking permission to issue public crypto-stock, andpurchased a stake in stock brokerage firm Pro Securities, whose technology will power the crypto-stock exchange. Byrne said to expect further announcements about the platform this summer, and that it presents an “extraordinary opportunity” for Overstock because it has the potential to be disruptive.

In fact, the crypto-stock exchange could sidestep traditional stock exchanges such as NYSE and NASDAQ and issue corporate stock directly over the Internet.

These two stories seem only related by their origin, but there is a common thread. In both cases, Overstock wants to move beyond legacy systems with too many intermediaries, wasteful inefficiencies and potential for fraud, toward a streamlined, cheaper and more sustainable way of life.