Blockchain Report — 11/26/2018

Summary: Free Software Proponent Richard Stallman Doesn’t Find Bitcoin Appealing; Coinbase’s Chief Policy Officer Is Leaving To Work With A VC Firm; Overstock Is Going All-In On Blockchain Technology

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Free Software Proponent Richard Stallman Doesn’t Find Bitcoin Appealing

According to Coindesk, the popular free software proponent Richard Stallman does not believe that Bitcoin is particularly appealing. Stallman is widely known in niche tech circles for proposing GNU, an operating system that runs exclusively on top of free software.

In an interview, Stallman said that he does not find Bitcoin appealing for both political reasons as well as due to the fact that he has never used Bitcoin before. Stallman said that a majority of Bitcoin’s early adopters are “anti-socialism”, while Stallman simply considers himself a “libertarian”. This lack of political alignment is part of the reason he does not like to associate with Bitcoin.

Another gripe that Stallman has with Bitcoin is the lack of privacy when it comes to transactions:

“What I’d really like is a way to make purchases anonymously from various kinds of stores, and unfortunately it wouldn’t be feasible for me with bitcoin…If bitcoin protected privacy, I’d probably have found a way to use it by now.”

Stallman is working on a separate digital payment system called “Taler”. Stallman clarifies, however, that Taler is not a cryptocurrency and is designed for a “post-blockchain” world.

Coinbase’s Chief Policy Officer Is Leaving To Work With A VC Firm

According to Cryptovest, Coinbase is losing its chief policy officer Michael Lempres. Lempres has decided to join the U.S. Venture Capital (VC) firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Lempres acted as Coinbase’s chief legal and risk officer for almost two years. In October, he was transferred to the role of policy affairs. An ex-Fannie Mae executive, Brian Brooks, took over Lempres’s former role. In an email, Coinbase commented on Lempres’s departure:

“As chief legal and risk officer during a time of tremendous growth for Coinbase, Mike was instrumental in building the company’s legal and compliance functions and driving our vision of trust through compliance. We wish him the best in his new position with Andreessen Horowitz.”

It’s important to note that Horowitz was one of the early investors in Coinbase and took part in a $300 million exchange funding round last month.

Overstock Is Going All-In On Blockchain Technology

According to Mashable, the internet’s earliest online retailer Overstock has decided that it will sell its entire ecommerce business in February to focus exclusively on cryptocurrency and blockchain startups.

Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne explained how Overstock has made a $175 million investment into Medici Ventures. Medici Ventures is a VC firm that funds blockchain startups. Medici Ventures isn’t the first time Overstock has been involved with cryptocurrency, however. Overstock is known for being the first major retail store to accept Bitcoin back in 2014.

This year Overstock has lost $163 million. Medici Ventures hasn’t fared too well either, and the subsidiary lost $22 million last year and $39 million this year so far. One of Medici Venture’s biggest investments, tZero, hasn’t even launched publicly yet. Byrne isn’t concerned, though:

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

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