Many enthusiasts will probably remember that Overstock.com, a gigantic online retailer, was one of the first selling platforms to accept bitcoin as a mode of payment from its clients. Byrne, himself, has been a major bitcoin advocate over the years.
In a letter to shareholders, Byrne clarified that while he is sad to leave the company he has worked with and regarded for so long, he trusts this is the right move for the “country.” Byrne says that his inclusion in an FBI examination with respect to Russian interference within the 2016 presidential race is what driven 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 seems Byrne had been in a relationship with a Russian operator named Maria Butina since 2015. He’s certain that the company will stay solid without him, and that blockchain will eventually carve out a future in which financial freedom is accessible to each citizen. He says:
“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 conclusion, Byrne told the firm’s shareholders what an honor it has been to serve them. He mentions that it was at first his Rabbi that persuaded him to come forward, which after seeing his nation “tear itself apart” over the past three years, he felt he may not stay uninvolved.
“I wish all shareholders a smooth and level road, and don’t forget to shop Overstock.com,” he said.