Patrick Byrne, Cryptocurrency Champion, Resigns as Overstock CEO CEO Patrick Byrne has resigned from the company after admitting to an affair with Russian agent Maria Butina.

AccessTimeIconAug 22, 2019 at 4:21 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:22 a.m. UTC

Patrick Byrne, a rare champion of cryptocurrencies among the heads of public U.S. companies, has stepped down from his roles at


wrote in a letter to shareholders Thursday that he was stepping down from the company both as CEO and as a member of its board of directors due to insurability and other reasons after admitting to a three-year relationship with Maria Butina, a Russian agent currently serving 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of acting as a foreign agent.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Jonathan Johnson, the current president of Overstock's blockchain initiative Medici Ventures, a press release said Thursday.

"In his twenty years as Overstock’s leader, Patrick’s vision for Overstock as an innovation leader has come to fruition," Johnson said in a statement. "It will be my mission as I take the helm to continue and build on Overstock’s achievements and success."

Johnson added that "I am confident Overstock’s future – both in retail and blockchain – is bright."

Byrne said Johnson is "prepared ... to successfully oversee both our retail and blockchain businesses" in the press release.

While acting as interim CEO, Johnson will continue to serve on the board of directors for both Medici Ventures and the company's security token trading platform tZERO, as well as act as president of Medici.

Patrick Byrne image via CoinDesk archives


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.