Patrick Byrne, the CEO and primary board member of Overstock.com, has resigned from his position with the company.
Who Will Replace Byrne?
Many enthusiasts will likely remember that Overstock.com, a massive online retailer, was one of the first selling platforms to accept bitcoin as a means of payment from its customers. Byrne, himself, has been a major bitcoin advocate over the years.
In a letter to shareholders, Byrne explained that while he is sad to leave the company he has worked with and respected for so long, he believes this is the right move for the “country.” Byrne says that his involvement in an FBI investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is what led to his decision.
The letter reads:
In July, I came forward to a small set of journalists regarding my involvement in certain government matters. Doing so was not my first choice, but I was reminded of the damage done to our nation for three years and felt my duty as a citizen precluded me from staying silent any longer, so I came forward in as carefully and well-managed fashion as I could. The news that I shared is bubbling (however haphazardly) into the public. Though patriotic Americans are writing me in support, my presence may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships, from insurability to strategic discussions regarding our retail business. Thus, while I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock, both as CEO and board member, effective Thursday August 22.
It appears Byrne had been in a relationship with a Russian agent named Maria Butina since 2015. He’s confident that the company will remain strong without him, and that blockchain will ultimately carve out a future in which financial freedom is available to every citizen. He states:
I think the blockchain revolution will reshape key social institutions. We have designed and breathed life into perhaps the most significant blockchain keiretsu in the world, a network of blockchain firms seeking to revolutionize identity, land governance (=rule of law=potential=capital), central banking, capital markets, supply chains and voting. In three of those fields (land governance, central banking and capital markets), the word ‘trillions’ comes up when calculating the disruptive opportunity of blockchain.
In closing, Byrne tells the company’s shareholders what an honor it has been to serve them. He comments that it was initially his Rabbi that convinced him to come forward, and that after seeing his country “tear itself apart” over the past three years, he felt he could not remain uninvolved.
The End of an Era…
He finishes his letter with:
I wish all shareholders a smooth and level road, and don’t forget to shop Overstock.com.