Although the RadioShack electronics retail chain essentially collapsed after bankruptcy filings in 2015 and 2017, the name has been around for 100 years. In an effort to make RadioShack fit for another 100 years, the brand’s new owner is making a play on one of the world’s hottest and most controversial emerging business sectors – cryptocurrency.
In their quest to cash in on the RadioShack global brand, Miami-based Retail Ecommerce Ventures is pushing RadioShack (formerly Fort Worth) into the dark and promising crypto territory. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency built on a technology platform known as the blockchain; Bitcoin is perhaps the most popular type of cryptocurrency. In November, the global cryptocurrency market exceeded $3 trillion.
“The need for a bridge between CEOs controlling global companies and the new world of cryptocurrency is likely to come in the form of a century-old brand. RadioShack is perfect,” RadioShack declares on its website..
Prominent investors like Elon Musk’s recent Austin transplant have enthusiastically jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. However, other major investors, such as Warren Buffett, have cast doubt on the viability of the fraud-prone and highly volatile cryptocurrency market.
The Radio Shack owner apparently shares space on the musk cart. On its website, RadioShack — whose name still appears in hundreds of stores operated by independent merchants, including several in the Austin area — recently revealed plans for a cryptocurrency platform called RadioShack DeFi (short for Decentralized Finance). The company promotes RadioShack DeFi’s ability to monetize a 100-year-old brand name that is recognized in more than 190 countries and formerly home to more than 8,000 stores.
The concept invites people to exchange existing crypto tokens for the newly created RADIO token through the RadioShack DeFi platform.
“Our premise that the best way for cryptocurrency to become more popular is for an established brand name in technology to lead the way. … Despite its decline in the past 10 years, the brand is firmly ingrained in global consciousness – and ripe to be pivotal. To lead the way for blockchain technology to popularize adoption by other big brands,” RadioShack stated.
Electronic retail ventures purchased the assets of the RadioShack brand in 2020. The company also owns the Pier 1 e-commerce business, formerly based in Texas, along with legacy retail brands such as Dressbarn, Linens ‘n Things and Stein Mart.
Interestingly, RadioShack’s cryptocurrency setup will run on a system called Atlas USV owned by entrepreneurs Tai Lopez and Alex Mehr – the same people who own retail e-commerce ventures, hence RadioShack.
“It is clear that Lopez and Mehr are betting the success of the entire operation on the strength of the RadioShack brand with consumers,” notes PCMag.com.