Patrick Byrne: Why Cryptocurrencies Matter

This week we talk with Patrick Byrne, CEO of, and rare courageous voice within corporate America raising concern that powerful interests on Wall Street are destroying US companies for profit, robbing investors and destabilizing our financial system in the process. 

Byrne has been an early advocate for digital currencies and their potential to protect financial wealth from the massive policy missteps being undertaken by the Federal Reserve. (In 2014, became the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin payments.) 

In this week's podcast, Byrne details out the promising potential of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, as well as his thoughts as to whether they will be able or not to evade subversion by the world central authorities:

In the 1980s, I was a graduate student at Stanford in philosophy, but with a heavy quantitative and logic approach. I studied the mathematics that underlies cryptography. It’s called computation theory. It was a fascinating field, probably the only religious experience I’ve ever had in my life. I felt like I was seeing the face of God -- I loved it.

So, in about 2012, I was reading Fast Company or Wired, and I saw this blurb about this new form of money that no government was behind, based on cryptography. And, I realized, Gee, this is like an application of that math I’d studied 30 years earlier. Someday I want to be one of the first companies to take it.

So, on December 19th, 2013, a journalist interviewed me. Near the end of the interview, she asked, “Are you ever going to accept Bitcoin?” And, at the time I thought in maybe a year and a half I’d get around to doing it, so I said, “Yeah, I hope someday that we'll do that.” She put that in her article, and I started getting Google alerts from newspapers in Thailand, in South Korea, in Africa. I mean, that little mention got picked up all over the world. And I realized, Geez, there’s a subculture around the world who is waiting for this.

So on January 1st, 2014, we started working on it. We put 40 guys in a room, sliding pizzas under the door so they could work day and night. And, by January 9th, we got Bitcoin up. As soon as we announced it, it became global news. At that point I realized that the world was ready for this earlier than I had expected it to be.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a form of money that's a stable field that the government can’t destroy and can’t distort. Because its creation is governed by the laws of mathematics. It can’t happen any faster or slower than a certain rate, and it all sort of self-adjusts. What that means is -- unlike Janet Yellen, who can sign something and whisk 85 billion new U.S. dollars into existence -- there’s nothing she can sign that will whisk new Bitcoin into existence. So, cryptocurrencies in general give us a stable medium through which we can communicate our information about values and prices in a way that no government mandarin can distort or usurp.

For the predators who have used our central institutions to predate on the rest of humanity, it’s a very bad development. 

Special note: at the end of the podcast, Patrick extends a 72-hour offer to listeners. That special offer has now expired.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Patrick Byrne (46m:35s).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I think I understand why my comment on cryptos didn’t go public.

Amazon leads a charmed life, somebody needs tell them to make a fiat profit. They are insolvent!

I am wondering why no exchange has yet to issue bitcoin debit cards.

One theory is that Amazon is very patient. Once they destroy bricks & mortar retail through their low pricing model, they will be able to start acting like The Company Store, and charge whatever they want. Who will compete with them?
Another theory is that they’ll automate fulfillment to the point where it will be so cheap, no humans will be involved and - once again - they’ll destroy bricks & mortar which has to maintain inventory, staffing, as well as pay for real estate while Amazon just rents cheap warehouse space and has robots do all the work.

Another theory is that during bubbles sparked by massive central bank liquidity expansion episodes people are entirely willing to throw financial rules out the window in favor of “explanations” that are merely rationalizations that boil down to “this time is different.”
During every bubble you can find a plethora of “reasons” for why it makes sense for houses to cost 8x incomes, or a company to be burning through cash at an alarming clip, or why profits don’t matter at this stage…
Here’s a recent favorite of mine…the CEO of Netflix “explaining” why the enormous quantity of negative free cash flow at NFLX is a good thing. You can practically hear the bullish analysts cheering him on to make it even more negative in the background. :wink:
If you cannot hear the word “bubble” being screamed into the air with this explanation then I would strongly suggest Q-Tips are in order.

Look, when we produce an amazing show like Stranger Things, that's a lot of capital up front, and then you get a payout over many years. And seeing the positive returns on that for the business as a whole is what makes us comfortable that we should continue to invest and integrate to basically self-develop many more properties as Ted (the content head) can find the appropriate ones. And then there's comfort with being able to finance it, and of course, our debt-to-market cap is incredibly low and conservative, so we've got lots of room there. And I think that combination that it's spent well and we can raise it is what makes us very excited. And the irony is the faster that we grow and the faster we grow the owned originals, the more drawn on free cash flow that we'll be. So in some senses, negative free cash flow will be an indicator of enormous success. (Source)

of the phrase (that goes something like), “we’ll make it up on volume”

Mohammed Mast - Thank you for the link regarding debit cards.

Netflix dude: “So in some senses, negative free cash flow will be an indicator of enormous success.”
Just not that sense referred to as “common”…Aloha, Steve

I am wondering why no exchange has yet to issue bitcoin debit cards
I have a TenX VISA debit card that makes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies spendable. It works very well. I made a small investment in the company by buying PAY tokens - but you don't need to do that to get a card. It was not available when the list linked to above was created.


If you’re interested in creating and selling nfts, I have the perfect platform for you. wNFT offers a wide range of features that make it easy to create and sell wNFT. With an intuitive user interface, you can easily set up your wNFT and manage it in one place. I highly recommend checking out if you’re interested in wNFTs.