For years, electronics retailer RadioShack used the slogan, "You've got questions, we've got answers."
After the moribund chain's latest move, people have a lot of questions.
Over the weekend, the company confirmed a pivot into decentralized finance (DeFi), the name for blockchain-based protocols that allow people to send, receive, trade, lend, and borrow funds without intermediaries.
RadioShack DeFi, the website now reads, "will be the bridge between the CEO's [sic] who control the world's corporations and the new world of cryptocurrencies."
According to documents on the website, "RadioShack, and RadioShack alone, can bridge the gap and 'cross the chasm' of mainstream usage for Cryptocurrency."
(If you're raising your hand to ask a question, we see you.)
The website touts a partnership with Atlas USV (universal store of value), a DeFi protocol that allows applications to be built atop it. RadioShack DeFi aims to begin by creating a decentralized exchange (DEX) in the vein of Uniswap or Sushiswap that taps into liquidity pools. This model lets token holders trade directly for any other token.
Atlas's Ethereum-based token USV is new enough that it isn't even one of the 10,000+ assets tracked by CoinGecko or CoinMarketCap, though it can be traded on DEXs. According to RadioShack, the protocol "allows USV users to purchase third-party tokens in the open market and then transfer them to the Atlas USV treasury in return for discounted USV tokens."
If you've never heard of Atlas USV, which is supplying the technology for the venture, you might not be surprised to hear that it's the brainchild of Alex Mehr and Tai Lopez—the same men who bought RadioShack last year.
Lopez confirmed in a video posted on December 11 that he is "taking RadioShack on the blockchain, it'll be the first huge mainstream brand that flipped completely into a crypto." He also teased the upcoming release of Atlas USV.
RadioShack, a once-ubiquitous electronics store, couldn't weather the e-commerce boom; it filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and again in 2017. It's since carved out a humble existence post-bankruptcy as a parts supplier for HobbyTown USA while keeping several hundred franchised shops open and maintaining an online store. Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV), run by CEO Mehr and Executive Chairman Lopez, bought it in 2020.
In fact, REV owns many of the chains that used to define U.S. retail, including Pier1, Linens 'N Things, and DressBarn. Its general strategy is to pivot failing retailers away from storefronts and into e-commerce, while courting co-investors to pitch in. They're kind of like house flippers, only they deal in rejuvenating the image of defunct legacy brands.
(Okay, put your hand down, because we're about to answer what you really want to know.)
Yes, RadioShackSwap (or whatever its name becomes) will launch its own token: RADIO.
Interested members of the public can sign up for a notification of the launch, but the plan is to distribute 10 billion RADIO tokens. The company hasn't yet shared how—or to whom—they will be distributed.
Unless, of course, Mehr and Lopez are pranking everyone in crypto.
So, with RADIO coming soon, the natural next question is: Wen Pier1 token?
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