EMAILED ON October 26, 2017 BY Lindsey Quinn

O’ dog, new tricks:’s launching the biggest ICO in history, the old guard e-commerce company most of us associate with bargain-hunting moms, is planning to raise one of the largest cryptocurrency funding rounds in history.


It’s true. Set to launch next month,’s initial coin offering, or ICO, will sell as much as 500m digital tokens, nearly doubling the next largest ICO ($257m) raised by FileCoin this past August.

We don’t think of them as being on the “screaming, bleeding edge” of tech trends, but these guys have been around since 1999 and were one of the earliest e-commerce companies to cash in on the tech boom.

They were also one of the first companies to accept Bitcoin payments (as of this August), and CEO Patrick Byrne has been a vocal advocate of blockchain technology.

Wait, aren’t ICOs pretty shady?

Historically, yes. Less-than-legitimate companies have used ICOs as a loophole to sidestep SEC regulations and raise quick capital without a whole lot of accountability.

Which is a big reason why China has since banned them, and the SEC is taking very deliberate steps to regulate them.

But says that their ICO will be different…

They’ve created the first SEC-compliant coin exchange claims to have created a federally regulated platform for companies to trade digital tokens via a subsidiary called tØ (alternately written tZERO) — and it’s through this marketplace that The O will hold their ICO.

Exactly how connected and tØ will be moving forward remains to be seen: Byrne says that and tØ may very well split into separate entities in the future.

And if that happens, Byrne, who personally owns “several million” in bitcoin, says he’ll be the one overseeing at least the crypto side of things (if not both parts).