Overstock makes $4 million investment in Caribbean Blockchain firm Bitt

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Overstock has announced a strategic investment in Bitt.com, a Caribbean-based financial technology firm working to move island nations in that region to adopt digital national currencies. Overstock.com is investing $4 million in Bitt initially.

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“A major impediment to economic advancement around the world is the fact that the vast majority of humans are unbanked. Yet mobile penetration in some countries exceeds 100%. Bitt has a vision for the Caribbean of frictionless mobile cash, beginning with central banks transparently issuing digital fiat which is then exchanged on a blockchain (all under proper regulatory oversight, as with our t0 offering to Wall Street),” said Overstock.com CEO Dr. Patrick M. Byrne. “We respect and endorse that vision, and share a common desire to see online consensual exchange flourish globally. As they say around these parts, ‘One love’.”

The investment was announced at a media conference in Barbados attended by principals from both Bitt and Overstock.com, in addition to dignitaries from various Caribbean nations.

For its part, Bitt.com intends to use the proceeds from the investment to further its goal of building a financial ecosystem in the Caribbean that remedies the issues which people in the region experience daily, including high frictional fees from banks and other money services operations that make sending money in and out of the region cumbersome and costly.

“Regional small businesses find it financially prohibitive to offer online payment options to consumers and this places a drag on entrepreneurism in the Caribbean,” said Bitt CEO and Co-Founder, Gabriel Abed. “Our aim is to use crypto-technology to turn our regional citizens into global citizens, giving them the ability to send or receive money directly via their phones, in seconds, from all corners of the globe.”

In February of 2016, Bitt launched a digitized Barbadian Dollar on the bitcoin blockchain, backed by the Central Bank of Barbados. The company intends to digitize all of the fiat currencies found in the Caribbean and place them on the blockchain so they can be easily traded among the islands, bringing modern solutions to a region historically limited by inefficient exchange and settlement systems.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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