One of bitcoin and crypto’s oldest proponents, the founder and former chief executive of U.S. online retailer Overstock, Patrick Byrne, is going all-in on gold, silver, and cryptocurrencies.
The “Mad King,” as he was labelled by Forbes in a recent profile, wants to protect his dwindling resources so he can “go to war” with the “Deep State” and its “pet,” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Byrne, who in 2014 was branded bitcoin’s “messiah” by technology magazine Wired, revealed in an open letter this week he has sold his entire stake in Overstock, some 5 million shares worth about $90 million before taxes, to buy into assets he called “counter-cyclical” to the economy.
“After paying tens of millions in taxes … the rest will be in investments that are counter-cyclical to the economy: Gold, silver, and two flavors of crypto,” Byrne wrote in a blog post entitled A Message to My Former Colleagues at Overstock.
It was just last month that Byrne resigned abruptly as Overstock’s CEO, telling Forbes he had “great, great enthusiasm for the prospects of the company.”
His resignation was sparked by his involvement in the investigation of accused Russian spy Maria Butina.
“The gold and silver are stored outside of the United States, in Switzerland, and within two weeks, will be scattered in other locations that are even more outside of the reach of the Deep State, but are places that are safe for me,” Bryne wrote, adding he needs “the ammo to go to war against the Deep State.”
“The crypto is stored in the place where all crypto is stored: in mathematical mist, behind long keys held only in the memory of someone who is quite good at storing such things in memory (with paper backups in the hands of a priest I met 35 years ago who never sits foot in the West).”
Though Byrne has not specified which two different cryptocurrencies he plans to store his assets in, he has previously praised bitcoin, helping Overstock to become the first major retailer to start accepting bitcoin as payments for its goods in early 2014.
Around that time he called bitcoin “the solution” to a looming global apocalypse.
Since 2014, Byrne has been somewhat vindicated, with the bitcoin price up more than 10-fold to recently hover around $10,000 per bitcoin–though down almost half from its all-time high set in late 2017.
However, Overstock has remained an outlier when it came to retail acceptance of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, which have mostly been used for wealth speculation.
Meanwhile, Byrne has poured money into blockchain, the technology that forms the basis for bitcoin and other decentralized cryptocurrencies.
Overstock’s Medici Ventures has made investments of some $200 million in the past five years but has failed to generate meaningful returns and lost over $60 million last year.