Overstock becomes first major online retailer to accept Bitcoins

By on January 9, 2014, 6:45 PM
bitcoin, bitcoins, virtual currency, cryptocurrency, overstock

It’s official: Overstock.com is now the first major online retailer to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. The company made a promise late last year that they would begin accepting the controversial virtual currency within the first half of this year but few expected it would happen so quickly.

CEO Patrick Byrne told Wired that he felt he had tipped his hand by revealing their intentions last month and he didn’t want someone else to beat them to the punch.

Byrne said his company struck a deal with San Francisco startup Coinbase last Tuesday to handle Bitcoin payments. Overstock engineers have been working at a feverish pace ever since to get the payment method implemented ASAP. As of earlier today, Overstock started accepting Bitcoins for everything they sell.

It’s a strategy he believes will ultimately help Overstock’s bottom line but that isn’t the only reason he’s doing it. The opinionated libertarian is using the decision as a political statement as well as he believes virtual currencies can help free the world from the powers that big banks and big government have enjoyed for years. Or as he puts it, “it helps us fight the machine.”

There’s little denying that as companies like Overstock and others embrace the currency, its primary role will shift from an investment to a regularly and widely used currency that can be used to buy and sell both goods and services. How long that will ultimately take, however, remains to be seen.

User Comments: 3

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

Huge step. It just tells me that if I buy bit coins my money will not be a waist. I can buy an SSD or something.

Guest said:

Question about the bitcoin currency. It keeps change everyday and even in hours. Do they keep change the price of goods or just stick to it even though bitcoin currency went down or up?

Guest said:

Most of these businesses use a payment processor such as BitPay or Coinbase, I believe overstock is using Coinbase in particular. How these processors work is similar to CC merchant networks, they charge a small fee and instantly convert any portion of Bitcoin from 0 to 100% to typically USD. This basically puts the company at no risk as it is pegged at a current price:bitcoin ratio and instantly cashed out at that price. Also with Bitcoin there is no function of a chargeback, so the retailers gain margins from fraud prevention.

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