What happened

Shares of Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) soared more than 25% on Friday, despite no apparent company news. Such moves are commonplace for Overstock.com, a major battleground stock for shorts and long-term holders, and even with the impressive gains Friday, Overstock shares are still below levels hit earlier in the week.

OSTK Chart

OSTK data by YCharts.

So what

Overstock.com has long been a controversial stock, and the company, of late, has been focused on its soon-to-be-issued digital dividend designed to help validate its blockchain technology. Former CEO Patrick Byrne had argued the digital dividend could over time become more valuable than the company's Nasdaq-traded shares because it would be less susceptible to short-seller attacks.

A secure cloud illustration.

Image source: Getty Images.

The merits of the plan are debatable. But for those who do believe in it, the progress toward issuing the dividend, which will be tradable on Overstock's affiliated tZero blockchain platform, is a positive. tZero announced earlier in the week that Hong Kong-based private equity firm GoldenSand Capital has completed a $5 million investment in the platform.

Now what

Overstock investors are focused on the digital dividend in part because the company's core retail business has had its share of troubles in recent quarters. The company also remains the subject of inquiries from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This is one of the most volatile stocks around, and owners of the shares have grown accustomed to riding the roller coaster. New investors tempted to climb on board based on the impressive Friday gains should be warned that if history is a guide, the turbulence is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.