Overstock.com is prepared for the worst, with a stockpile of precious metals in a secure location in Utah.
The company has enough food, cash, and digital currencies stored up to survive a disaster scenario that would doom the average online retailer, CEO Patrick Byrne told Buzzfeed News.
“I want a system that can survive a three month freeze,” says Byrne. “If the whole thing collapses I want our system to continue paying people, we want to be able to survive a shutdown of the banking system.”
That means hiding away $US6 million worth of gold and $US4.3 million of silver in denominations small enough for payroll an undisclosed “safe space” in Utah, plus a 30 day supply of food.
Byrne said he thinks of the stockpile as a sort of insurance policy for the company, with a 5% chance of paying off. He pointed to the 1930s banking freeze and the 2008 financial crisis as evidence of the necessity of preparation.
Buzzfeed reports that the hoarding is rooted in Byrne’s distrust for most major institutions, including banks.
This distrust has helped prompt Overstock.com to accept Bitcoin last year, making it the first major online retailer to do so.
In 2013, Byrne told Business Insider that he believed fiat currency, such as the US dollar, to be fundamentally flawed as it is prone to inflation and manipulation. Meanwhile, Bitcoin, like the stockpiled gold and silver, is a fixed supply and therefore immune.
Byrne has made headlines in the past for some confounding behaviour, including calling billionaire Steven Cohen a “Sith Lord” in a full-page Wall Street Journal ad (Cohen reportedly manipulated Overstock stock as founder of hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors) and attempting to board a plane with a loaded Glock (he denied knowing the gun was in his bag).
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