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The Tell: Overstock’s founder to sell retail business in bet on blockchain over bedsheets

In August 2015, Overstock.com Inc. Chief Executive Patrick Byrne rented out Nasdaq Inc.’s Times Square broadcast studio for a lavish party to unveil his newest project, a blockchain-based trading system called tZero.

Three years later, tZero still hasn’t launched commercially, and it is burning through millions of dollars a month. Yet Byrne is staking his company’s future on it and more than a dozen other blockchain startups.

“I don’t care whether tZero is losing $2 million a month,” Byrne said in an interview. “We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”

Byrne is among blockchain’s true believers—the ardent devotees who are convinced that the technology will one day upend commerce.

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