The world of crypto is an eclectic mix of funny scams, ludicrous cash-grabs, outright racism , and generally volatile currency options. So we’re not exactly shocked to bring you this news, but we also didn’t see it coming. RadioShack is becoming a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. There, we said it. And yes, it’s true.
The once-mighty-but-now-bankrupt electronics store chain is preparing to live a second life in the crypto world. If you visit radioshack.com right now you’ll see we’re not kidding about this. The company’s homepage now proclaims it’s “bringing cryptocurrency to the mainstream.”
This is confusing on a few levels. First and foremost: RadioShack is gone. Or at least it was until this week. The retail chain filed for bankruptcy back in 2015 after just under 100 years of business. The branding has been tossed around a few times — most recently by some corporation called Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) — but yeah, the stores have been wiped off the map.
Also confounding: the company’s mission. Cryptocurrency is pretty mainstream at the moment. Might be a little late to the game here, RadioShack.
Who’s behind this? — First things first. This is not the RadioShack you used to browse endlessly for digital pets and wireless knickknacks. This is Alex Mehr and Tai Lopez, the two guys behind REV. The RadioShack you knew and loved is still dead and gone. Sorry.
Mehr and Lopez use REV to buy up old brands, usually retail ones. Have you been to a Pier 1 Imports or Modell’s Sporting Goods lately? Yeah, those are REV properties now, too.
What does it mean? — Here’s what we know so far. Lopez and Mehr are building a DeFi (decentralized finance) exchange, where users will be able to send and receive cryptocurrency without going through a third party. Think Venmo for crypto.
The pair is already big into crypto and even owns a crypto protocol company called Atlas USV. (The RadioShack DeFi system is a “collaboration” with Atlas — but is it really a collab if they’re owned by the same people?) Eventually, they plan to launch a RADIO crypto token, too.
It’s unclear what will happen to other RadioShack properties. There are still about 400 RadioShack stores operating independently from REV, at last check; those will still carry the RadioShack name after the exchange opens, or so we’d assume.
We’re all for RadioShack making a comeback, but it kind of seems like Mehr and Lopez are just using a well-respected company name to sell a crypto exchange to baby boomers. Verdict — for now, at least: meh.