tZERO was launched after Overstock, a large online shopping commercial site, and other trading companies decided to come together and launch their own cryptocurrency. The release was done in the form of an ICO(initial coin offering) at the end of 2017. It is important to keep in mind that investing in ICOs was really popular at the time but at the same time led to many companies vanishing with the money.
The ICO, in particular, was met with great curiosity and many investors poured their money into it to help fund the cryptocurrency and the infamous tZERO trading platform, although it did last very long, longer than most ICOs due to lack of funding as it hoped to raise $250 million. It also changed the original structure of the ICO. As a reward for purchasing these tokens, they were given the chance to buy blockchain-enabled DLR(Digital Locate Receipts). This DLR would permit traders involved in short sales to borrow shares they want to trade against. Unfortunately, it only reached $134 million before ending the ICO however, this was covered by the $374 million investment from GSR Capital, a private equity firm from China. This shift of the company towards the ICO took a major hit on Overstock’s stock price, which it eventually recovered.