Patrick M. Byrne
In late 1999, Patrick M. Byrne launched Overstock.com, which achieved its first profitable quarter in 2002 and its first full year of profitability in 2009. With revenues of $1.75 billion in 2017, Overstock has remained profitable seven out of the last nine years.
In 2010, Forbes magazine named Overstock.com the No. 9 Best Company to Work for in the Country, and Byrne the CEO with the highest employee approval rating (92%). In 2011, Ernst & Young gave Byrne its National Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2014, Overstock.com was one of the Most Trustworthy Companies in America as named by Forbes/MSCI ESG Research.
A “classical liberal,” Byrne believes that our nation’s success depends on education and capital markets. Toward the goal of clean capital markets, in 2004 Byrne began a vigorous citizen-journalist campaign focusing on regulatory capture, hedge fund mischief, settlement system failures, systemic risk, and the possibility of economic warfare against the US by organized crime and foreign governments. His stance caught the attention of Wall Street analysts and reporters, becoming a point of high controversy until the crash of 2008, occasioned by many of the things of which Byrne had warned. Byrne’s website DeepCapture.com subsequently received much recognition, such as Weblogs Award “Best Business Blog” (2008), Business Pundit’s “Best Business Investigative Journalism” (2009), and Xmark’s “Top Site on Corruption in the USA” (2010).
In 2012, Byrne’s pro-freedom political orientation led him to challenge Overstock to become the first business with more than $1 million in revenue to accept bitcoin as a payment method. Using the familiarity gained with the blockchain technology at the heart of digital currencies such as bitcoin, Byrne created Medici Ventures, a subsidiary within Overstock.com devoted to advancing blockchain-based technology solutions. In 2015, Byrne used a blockchain-based trading platform built by Medici’s portfolio company, tZERO.com, to become the first person to purchase a digital bond entirely on the blockchain. Byrne made history again in 2016, when Overstock was the first public company to offer preferred shares of a crypto security on an SEC compliant and FINRA-approved alternative trading system (ATS). Today, Overstock, accepts dozens of top cryptocurrencies as payment on its retail website, and through Medici, remains a leading force in advancing blockchain technology to democratize capital, eliminate middlemen, and re-humanize commerce.
Since Milton Friedman’s passing in 2006, Byrne has served as chairman of EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice), an organization leading a successful national push for school choice.
Byrne received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Asian studies from Dartmouth College, a master’s in philosophy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University. Having taught at the university level, he is a frequent guest lecturer discussing blockchain, capital markets, Wall Street practices, internet commerce, education, leadership and ethics.