In 1999, Patrick M. Byrne launched Overstock.com, which achieved its first profitable quarter in 2002 and its first full year of profitability in 2009. In 2016, Overstock.com had revenues of $1.8 billion and its seventh out of eight straight years of profitability.
In 2012, when no firm of $1 million in revenue yet accepted bitcoin as a payment method, Byrne’s pro-freedom political orientation led him to decide that Overstock.com, then with $1.4 billion in revenue, should accept the digital currency. Having gained familiarity with blockchain technology at the heart of digital currencies such as bitcoin, Byrne created Medici Ventures, a subsidiary within Overstock.com building blockchain-based financial technology solutions. In 2015, Byrne used Medici’s t0.com securities trading platform to become the first person to purchase a digital bond entirely on the bitcoin blockchain. Byrne made history again in Dec 2016, when Overstock.com issued the first shares ever traded on an alternative trading system (ATS) utilizing distributed ledger technology.
A “classical liberal,” Byrne believes that our nation’s success depends on education and capital markets. Since Milton Friedman’s passing in 2006, Byrne has served as chairman of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice (now “EdChoice”), an organization leading the national push for school choice.