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Overstock.com now accepting Bitcoin

Adds digital currency as payment option

SALT LAKE CITY — Overstock.com is now accepting the new digital currency Bitcoin as a form of payment, making it the first big online retailer to do so, the company said.

Once customers select goods from its more than 1 million online items - including furniture, rugs and electronics - and place them in their shopping carts, Bitcoin will be listed among the customer's payment options, which also include Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

"This is historic. Digital currency will be an important part of the future and Overstock is excited to be the first major online shopping retailer to accept it," Patrick Byrne, chairman and CEO of the Salt Lake City-based company, said in a release. "As one who believes in limited government, this attracts me because it is a form of money that no government mandarin can will it into existence."

Overstock called Bitcoin the "world's most widely used cryptocurrency," with a "network made up of thousands of computers run by individuals around the world and doesn't answer to a central authority." It's similar to gold in its mathematically constrained supply that "will grow in a predictable manner," the e-commerce retailer said.

Byrne said Bitcoin is well suited for online transactions, with no transactions fees attached.

While the new digital currency has experienced wild valuation swings, Byrne has said previously that Overstock will either immediately convert it to dollars or hedge its risk through derivatives.

Overstock.com is partnering with Coinbase.com to process the payments and handle the conversion of Bitcoin into U.S. dollars.

"Providing this convenience for the cult-following Bitcoin customer is the smart thing to do," Byrne said, adding that the company believes the currency is nearing a tipping point for broad consumer adoption.

 

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