Overstock.com to Begin Accepting Bitcoin Second Half of 2014

Eric Calouro
By Eric Calouro December 19, 2013 06:00 Updated

Overstock.com to Begin Accepting Bitcoin Second Half of 2014

Overstock.com Logo

In late October, there was a brief mention of retailer Overstock.com in a New York Times piece that noted the online retailer was considering accepting bitcoin, but decided they would put a hold on that objective (partially due to the fact that bitcoin is still a ‘gray area’ in terms of financial law).

It would appear that Overstock is once again revving their engines on that front, with the company telling newsBTC that they plan to begin accepting bitcoin in the second half of 2014 — making them the first big retailer in the space to do so.

The announcement comes directly from Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, who spoke to me briefly on Wednesday in an interview by phone. Byrne told me that the company is still working out the logistics of accepting the currency, but notes that they may plan to work independently of bitcoin payment processors like Coinbase or BitPay by implementing a proprietary system to manage the transactions. The bottom line: Overstock hasn’t decided yet. Byrne says Overstock will have no marginal cost in the implementation, so it’s something they’ll keep plugged in. If after a year or two Overstock sees minimal bitcoin purchases, that may be the time to pull that plug.

“Bitcoin is good money,” Byrne told me.

Overstockcom Screenshot

Overstock.com was launched in 1999. Today, the online retailer does over $1 billion in revenue annually.

Many companies today accept bitcoin, but immediately convert it to fiat afterwards. Asked whether or not Overstock would take the same approach, Byrne indicated that if Overstock kept their bitcoin, they would need to find a market on which to hedge their risk.

“If we cannot find a way to hedge our risk, we’ll be converting right back into dollars,” Byrne said.

And with the price per bitcoin fluctuating wildly (particular this week in an unfortunate downward direction), would this turn Overstock.com off to accepting bitcoin?

“Not in the least,” says Byrne, reiterating that if Overstock can hedge their risk or have the option of converting into dollars, it won’t matter.

“Those kinds of fluctuations won’t matter in our plans,” he says.

This is a hugely important milestone in bitcoin history. An online retailer the magnitude of Overstock surely has the power to become the catalyst in widespread acceptance of the digital currency in the online marketplace, but Byrne noted that at the end of the day, it really all depends on how many users end up paying with bitcoin.

“It will put [Overstock] at a competitive edge if, and only if, the general population starts thinking and using bitcoin,” he said. “We’re willing to take the first step and see.”

Author note: A small correction was added in the section discussing 3rd-party bitcoin processors. newsBTC originally stated Overstock would not be working with 3rd-parties, but we have corrected this to reflect Mr. Byrne’s statement that the company is not yet certain of how the implementation will happen, exactly.

Eric Calouro
By Eric Calouro December 19, 2013 06:00 Updated
  • Jason

    Great news. Once they implement this I’ll be going to Overstock whenever I have something to buy to see if they offer it for purchase via BTC before I check elsewhere.

  • https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coinage/id774948138?mt=12 Coinage

    Wonderful news!!!

  • https://bitcointalk.org/ SuperResistant

    Bitcoin to Mars !

  • http://bitcoinspakistan.com Bitcoins Pakistan

    Maybe time to buy some more coins!

  • https://www.facebook.com/BitcoinConciergeExchange Anthony Allen

    Amazon will not be far behind!!!

  • http://www.itemsendingsoon.com Wilburforceuk

    Excellent news , need more big players to accept the coinage.

  • http://Google JimBob

    Bitcoin to the multi verse

  • john

    Nice move Overstock.com!! You will now be the first place I go to to shop online!!

  • http://www.itsusefulstuff.com/ raju

    its great happy news

  • http://www.principle7.com Brad

    This is great news! I just attended a Bitpay meetup group last night and learned more about the actual technology and the more I do, the more I realize it’s here to stay.

    Here’s a great interview with Max Keiser interviewing economist Bill Still about the strengths of BTC and another cryptocurrency, Quark and how alternative systems are so needed in our economies not.

    http://wp.me/p4aJDA-27

  • http://www.BTCShop.org BTCShop.org

    This is fantastic news.

  • http://bitoombacasino.weebly.com Bitoomba

    Overstock is not really much, but I think it will push other company’s to follow by accepting bitcoin.

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