On March 11, Medici Ventures, which is a subsidiary of Overstock.com that invests in blockchain technology, announced that they had purchased an interest in Bankorus, which is a blockchain banking platform. Medici Ventures bought a little more than 5% of Bankorus, which lets both organizations and individuals perform a number of functions on digital assets. This includes the buying, selling, lending and storing of assets. No further financial information about the purchase was released. Jonathan Johnson, who is the president of Medici Ventures, issued a statement in conjunction with the announcement. He said that his company's purchase of a stake in Bankorus is another step in their creating what he called a "foundation of a blockchain-based technology" that would improve the world. Medici Ventures has recently been very active in purchasing blockchain-related companies. Just a few months ago, they bought a 10% interest in GrainChain for $2.5 million. The company uses blockchain technology to track harvest distributions. The investment was reportedly made to help the company expand its operations in both South and Central America. Bitt, which has also received an investment from Medici Ventures, was also in the news recently. The company is partnering with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to develop a digital currency that will be used by the bank, which serves a group of nations that are members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. Both banks and other institutions in the union will be distributing the currency, whose goal is to increase financial-sector stability in the union and to reduce the use of cash there. It will also be used to promote economic growth in the region. Patrick Byrne, who is the founder of Overstock.com, said in February that blockchain technology can not only considerably improve government efficiency but it can also eliminate government bribery. He further said that the use of blockchain technology is essential for optimizing government services. Byrne also talked about creating what he called a "government-as-a-service," which is analogous to the popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) paradigm. This service would include a group of applications that would utilize blockchain technology to provide government services to citizens.
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