"And they're coming to take me away ha-haaa. They're coming to take me away ho-ho hee-hee ha-haaa." (via Pixabay)

Ex-Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne sells stock, doubles down on crypto

In a farewell letter to his former co-workers, Byrne gives crypto wild man John McAfee a run for his money in the conspiracy theorist championship

Overstock.com’s founder Patrick Byrne ended his connection with the online retailer he built into a giant in much the same way as he ended his tenure as its CEO a month ago: bizarrely.

Since 2014, Byrne poured more than $200 million of Overstock.com’s resources into a venture capital arm, Medici Ventures, with the goal of turning the online retailer into a blockchain powerhouse, Forbes estimates.

Ten days before he stepped down on August 22, Byrne had forced his PR team to post a release on the company’s investor relations page reading, “Overstock.com CEO Comments on Deep State, Withholds Further Comment.” It delved vaguely into the Hillary Clinton/Russia investigation, President Donald Trump, and Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, as well as a “senior military officer,” and “the Men in Black.” Lurking unmentioned in the background was his affair with a jailed Russian agent.

While he couldn’t reach quite reach those heights this time around, a letter posted on September 18 under a large silhouette of a hand doing the Vulcan split-fingered peace sign from Star Trek announced that he had sold all of his remaining stock in Overstock.com. The proceeds—reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as about $90 million—will be invested in gold, silver, and “two flavors of crypto.” 

The precious metals are stored in Switzerland, but will be scattered “outside the reach of the Deep State,” within two weeks,” Byrne wrote.

As for his unspecified flavors of cryptocurrency, they are “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,” he waxed poetically. 

But before one starts conjuring QuadrigaCX’s late founder Gerald Cotten—who allegedly took the keys to the (apparently already plundered) exchange to his grave—be aware that Byrne said he has left “paper backups in the hands of a priest I met 35 years ago who never sits foot in the West.”

Predicting a recession—or even “The Big One”—Byrne went on to say that he sold his holdings after a weekend in which, he said “the Deep State’s pets at the SEC began leaking something to their clients JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman (and here as citizens I bet you thought we were their clients, right? lol).”

The goal of the “evil” SEC, by the way, was to “to hurt our company to benefit their clients on Wall Street.” Conveniently, one of those clients’ favorites is Overstock.com competitor Wayfair, he noted. Shares of Wayfair were trading 7% lower on Friday compared to their Wednesday opening price. 

And because no good Deep State rant is complete without a threat to take down the “Men in Black,” Byrne’s letter concluded with a promise: “I am now going to shellac them. Actually, ‘shellac’ is too weak a word for what I intend to do to the Deep State. Sit back and enjoy the show.”

Although if you want to quibble, Byrne technically ended the letter by giving his friends Mr. Spock’s famous farewell line, “live long and prosper.”

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.