Patrick M. Byrne, the CEO of Overstock, has taken an indefinite leave of absence due to complications arising from Hepatitis C. Will his company remain bitcoin-friendly post his exit, given that he was one of the most vocal supporters of Bitcoin?

In a press release on 11th April 2016, Patrick Byrne revealed that he had been struggling with Stage IV of Hepatitis C, contracted in a surgery in 1984 in China. Due to complications arising from this, he has taken an indefinite leave of absence.

It is currently not known whether Byrne will return to work. Mitch Edwards, the General Counsel of Overstock has been appointed as the acting CEO.

Fintech based on blockchain technology

Patrick Byrne has been a vocal supporter of Bitcoin and was the earliest major retailer to accept Bitcoin back in January 2014.

He spoke to Cointelegraph at the Money20/20 Europe conference and gave his comments on a wide range of topics, from the first public offering of securities which will be recorded to a distributed blockchain ledger to how smart contracts will disrupt government-citizens relations.

Overstock has been one of the pioneers in the issue of blockchain securities, with T0 (Overstock's majority owned subsidiary) focusing on the development of fintech based on blockchain technology.  

Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock

Different leader, same direction

Mitch Edwards, the acting CEO of Overstock, is a veteran in the high-tech industry.  He joined Overstock as General Counsel in August 2015 and has previously served as the CFO of BitTorrent Inc, Razer Inc and Skullcandy Inc.

He holds law degrees from Oxford University and Stanford Law School and has interned at the United States Supreme Court as well as the White House.

The biggest reassuring factor to the Bitcoin community would be the words used by Patrick Byrne to describe Mitch Edwards - 'an outstanding full-spectrum entrepreneur, with an understanding of the company’s core businesses and blockchain-based crypto initiatives'.

Decentralization is not something new to Mitch Edwards, given that he has served as the CFO and General Counsel of BitTorrent Inc. Edwards has also been closely involved with the development of T0, Overstock's subsidiary, which is working towards issuing public blockchain securities.

Overstock might have a different person leading it, but it doesn't look like the direction that it is headed in is going to change.