Overstock boss tackles poverty with blockchain tech

The head of US-based online retailer Overstock has teamed up with Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto to end poverty around the globe with blockchain technology.

“We are going to change the world with blockchain. Hernando and I intend to use blockchain technology to empower and enfranchise the five billion people who live outside formal economies within five years,” says Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. “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.”

The Byrn-De Soto venture, DeSoto, aims to develop a global property registry system to surface the property rights of billions of people in the developing world. “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 blockchain technology,” De Soto says. “I envision a world in which people with rights to their property and business assets pull themselves — and their communities — out of poverty.”

De Soto also says that, “About 80% of the world’s population is unable to enter into the modern global economy due to lack of visible and standardised 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.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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