In late 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 2001, Byrne began Worldstock Fair Trade, an Overstock.com division selling handcrafted products from artisans in developing nations. Worldstock profits have been donated to fund philanthropic projects, including building 26 self-sustaining schools across Asia and Africa educating thousands of students.
In 2012, Byrne’s pro-freedom political orientation led him to challenge Overstock to become the first business with more than $1 million in revenue to accept bitcoin as a payment method. Using the familiarity gained with the blockchain technology at the heart of digital currencies such as bitcoin, Byrne created Medici Ventures, a subsidiary within Overstock.com devoted to advancing blockchain-based technology solutions. In 2015, Byrne used Medici’s t0.com cryptosecurities 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 of a public company ever traded on an alternative trading system (ATS) utilizing the blockchain’s distributed ledger technology.
Byrne received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Asian studies from Dartmouth College, a master’s in philosophy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University.