Patrick Byrne

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Dr. Patrick Byrne
Patrickbyrne profilepic.jpg
Occupation Founder, former CEO
Employer, tZERO
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Twitter @OverstockCEO
Personal Twitter @@PatrickByrne
LinkedIn Profile

Patrick Byrne is an American entrepreneur. Despite owning a company that is publicly traded on Wall Street, he has been called "The Scourge of Wall Street" for his outspoken criticism of several high-profile individuals in various financial institutions whom he accused of corruption.[1] He is the founder and chief executive officer of, one of the first retailers to begin accepting bitcoin as payment for goods and services.[2] He is also the co-creator of the blockchain platform tZERO.[3]

On August 22, 2019, in a letter to shareholders, Byrne announced his resignation as chief executive officer and member of the board of


Byrne is the son of John "Jack" Byrne, the former owner of GEICO and a longtime friend of Warren Buffett.[4]

Patrick Byrne founded in 1999 out of Utah. In 2001, he founded Worldstock Fair Trade, a division of Overstock that sells handmade artisanal items from developing nations. Some of the profits have been used to fund various philanthropic projects.[5]

Byrne is a longtime supporter of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. He has been quoted saying the world is heading to a massive recession caused by Wall Street corruption, and that cryptocurrency, which does not require governments or financial institutions to function, is the key to humanity surviving what he calls the "Zombie Apocalypse." He has been criticized by numerous financial and journalistic institutions for this belief, including the New York Post.[6] Others have commended him for his "personal jihad" against "naked short-selling," a legal practice which Byrne believes will eventually destroy the U.S. economy.[7] This personal mission eventually led him to utilize blockchain technology to attempt to create a more transparent financial system.[8]

On January 9 2014, Byrne tweeted that would begin accepting bitcoin as payment for goods. The next day, he tweeted that within 21 hours, Overstock had recorded $124,000 worth of bitcoin sales.[9] Later that year, Byrne announced the creation of a blockchain-based fintech venture, for which he had hired the developers of the decentralized peer-to-peer exchange, Counterparty.[10]

In 2016, Byrne announced an indefinite leave of absence due to complications involving hepatitis C, which he contracted in 1984 in Xinjiang, China. By this time he had already survived testicular cancer and multiple resurgences of it.[11] Less than two months later, Byrne, along with journalist Mark Mitchell, lost a five-year legal battle with a Vancouver-based entrepreneur named Altaf Nazerali. The Canadian court awarded Nazerali $1.2 million, paid for by Byrne and Mitchell, in various damages for "a ruthless campaign" against Nazerali's reputation, which included accusations of arms dealing and drug trafficking, as well as involvement with al-Qaida both the Russian and Italian Mafias.[12]

In 2017, Byrne announced a joint venture between Medici Ventures (a subsidiary of and Hernando de Soto, a notable economist to begin a new blockchain venture, causing a sharp spike in's stock value (OSTK).[13][14] This venture ended up being called tZERO.[15] Later that year, he announced development of tZERO's DLR, a financial technology that would be developed specifically to "curb naked short sales."[16] Byrne announced in late 2017 that he plans on stepping away from his role at, selling or restructuring the company so that he could focus on developing tZERO full-time.[17][18]

Byrne has said on record that he believes many of the problems in the existing financial system could be remedied with the utilization of blockchain technology.[19] He claims that tZERO will, if all goes well, one day "replace Wall Street." He has also strongly cautioned investors, citing the volatile nature of ICO's and cryptocurrency.[20] On tZERO's website, there is a disclosure statement that specifies tZERO tokens will be offered "solely to qualified institutional investors, qualified professional investors, and those other sophisticated persons to whom offers and solicitation may be made without any licensing, registration, qualification, or approval under applicable law."[21]

By March 1st, 2018, the company had raised over $100 million for their ICO. The company disclosed in early March 2018 that the SEC had begun investigating the token sale.[22][23]

On August 22, 2019, in a letter to shareholders, Byrne announced his resignation as chief executive officer and member of the board of 10 days after published a statement revealing for the first time that Byrne had been romantically involved with the alleged Russian spy Maria Butina.[24] Responding to news stories that Byrne had been involved in federal investigations into the 2016 election, the earlier company statement had acknowledged that he had assisted with investigations involving Butina, who was jailed by federal authorities after pleading guilty to a lesser but related charge.[25]

In late September 2019, after Byrne's departure from, the company was sued by an investor in a Utah federal court for several of its business practices, including CEO Byrne's extensive travel schedule which according to the suit entailed his "spreading his blockchain gospel, despite the fact that Overstock was hemorrhaging cash."[26]

Byrne participated in a reportedly contentious four hour-plus meeting at The White House that included President Donald Trump and a number of his advisors on December 18, 2020 to plot a strategy to reverse the 2020 Presidential election that was won by former Vice-President Joe Biden. A Washington Post account said that the meeting degenerated into "raucous acrimony."[27] Two days after the meeting he tweeted, "For the first time in my life I feel sorry for Donald Trump. He is standing up to his waist in snakes. Trust Rudy and Sidney only," referring to Trump's lawyer and friend Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, whom Trump had fired from his legal team the previous month. Byrne also tweeted the same day, " My involvement is I was in the room when it happened. The raised voices included my own. I can promise you: President Trump is being terribly served by his advisers. They want him to lose and are lying to him. He is surrounding by mendacious mediocrities" as well as self-photographs from inside The White House.[28]


Patrick Byrne earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and Asian studies from Dartmouth College, a master’s in philosophy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and a PhD in philosophy from Stanford University. He also spent a year studying at Beijing Normal University through Dartmouth College's Foreign Study Program.[29][30][31]


  2. Becomes First Major Retailer to Accept Bitcoins. Coindesk.
  3. Patrick M. Byrne. Independent Institute.
  5. Patrick Byrne. The Independent.
  7. Naked shorting's early critic starts to see some vindication. Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee.
  8. Overstock's Blockchain and the War Against Naked Shorting. Coindesk.
  9. Becomes First Major Retailer to Accept Bitcoins. Coindesk.
  10. Overstock Hires Counterparty Developers to Build Cryptosecurity Stock Exchange. Coindesk.
  11. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne takes indefinite leave of absence over Hepatitis C complications. CNN.
  12. Vancouver businessman wins $1.2 million for Internet libel. Vancouver Sun.
  13. shares spike after blockchain unit announces for-profit property registry. CNBC.
  14. Patrick Byrne Mulls Overstock Sale to Fund New Blockchain Venture. Coindesk.
  15. Patrick M. Byrne. Independent Institute.
  16. Overstock to Release Blockchain Product to Curb Naked Short Sales. Coindesk.
  17. CEO aims to sell or reorganize e-commerce biz so he can focus on blockchain. CNBC.
  18. Patrick Byrne Mulls Overstock Sale to Fund New Blockchain Venture. Coindesk.
  19. Capital markets foe seeks an end run via blockchain. American Banker.
  20. Online retailer Overstock has raised $100 million for its ICO it says will replace Wall Street. Business Insider.
  21. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE – No Registration. tZERO.
  22. Online retailer Overstock has raised $100 million for its ICO it says will replace Wall Street. Business Insider.
  23. stock offering canceled, source says; shares rise. CNBC.
  24. Patrick Byrne, Overstock C.E.O., Resigns After Disclosing Romance With Russian Agent. New York Times.
  25. Overstock C.E.O. Takes Aim at ‘Deep State’ After Romance With Russian Agent. New York Times.
  26. and execs sued for securities fraud; crypto strategy and “bizarre” CEO statements cited. The Block Crypto.
  27. Trump assembles a ragtag crew of conspiracy-minded allies in flailing bid to reverse election loss. Washington Post.
  28. Former CEO says he took part in chaotic White House meeting on Friday. The Salt Lake Tribune.
  29. Patrick M. Byrne. The Independent.
  30. Patrick M. Byrne. The Independent.
  31. Patrick M. Byrne. Bloomberg.