Overstock CEO Says Blockchain Can End Global Poverty

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Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne believes that blockchain might be the world’s greatest hope in ending global poverty. In an exclusive interview with FOX Business, Byrne said he is looking for suitors who may be interested in his new venture with world-renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto Polar to end poverty with blockchain technology.

“When we first started taking bitcoin, I said back then four years ago, the main event of bitcoin isn’t bitcoin — it’s this thing called blockchain. We are going to change the world with blockchain,” Byrne said.

The venture, announced last week, will develop a global property registry system to surface the property rights of billions of people in the developing world. The new company — DeSoto, Inc. — plans to build solutions to empower individuals through property ownership.

“I envision a world in which people with rights to their property and business assets pull themselves — and their communities — out of poverty,” said de Soto in a press release. “About 80 percent of the world’s population is unable to enter into the modern global economy due to lack of visible and standardized property records. Billions of people have resources that cannot easily be transformed into productive capital. Blockchain is a powerful tool to solve these structural issues, which are some of the principal causes of poverty and conflict.”

Byrne is considered a blockchain technology leader: Overstock became the first major retailer to accept the cryptocurrency in 2014.

“What works in the United States — the most successful, prosperous and probably democratic country in the world — should be extendable to the rest of the universe, and we can do it with your technology,” de Soto said to FOX.

Byrne has been a long-time advocate for bitcoin and said the blockchain technology can lift billions out of poverty.

He said, “Hernando and I intend to use blockchain technology to empower and enfranchise the 5 billion people who live outside formal economies within five years.”