After Overstock, an online discount retailer, started accepting Bitcoin in January 2014, the store has gotten $870,000 in sales from around 4000 orders through Bitcoin. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne says that after making a comment about the site potentially accepting Bitcoin to a reporter in December, there was a rush to get the Bitcoin payment system running asap.
This was made possible by Coinbase, a Bitcoin payment processor, who flew an employee to Salt Lake City in order to work with Overstock. 40 people were stuck together in a room for a week in order for Overstock to get the payment system working.
Overstock CEO Sold Gold to Buy Bitcoin
Byrne was so interested in the digital currency that he sold “several million dollar worth” of gold he was holding to convert it into Bitcoin.
About Bitcoin, the Overstock CEO further says,
“I’m holding it like I hold gold. I want a robust safety net as things play out. I’ve always had misgivings about fiat currencies.”
In addition to this, Byrne says,
“Gold was the answer but it doesn’t translate as well in the digital age.”
Even though Byrne believes in Bitcoin, his holdings in gold are still larger than the digital currency.
Perks for Shoppers
Overstock is going to reward Bitcoin shoppers with 1% on spending. This means that when Bitcoin shoppers spend $100 worth of Bitcoin, they will get $1 back in “Club O Bucks.”
The company has to pay Coinbase an undisclosed fee to convert the Bitcoin they get from sales to U.S dollars, but it’s lower than what credit card companies usually charge. Byrne says,
“I don’t want my credit card details with 100 different sites. Neither does anyone else.”
Overstock CEO Supports Other Cryptocurrencies
In addition to holding on to Bitcoin like gold, Byrne also wants to be able to pay his vendors and employees in digital currency if they want to. The Overstock CEO says,
“I’m doing this because I want to further the cause of Bitcoin.”
In addition to Bitcoin, Byrne also wants to accept other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and other alt-coins as payment option on Overstock. He says this will happen as soon as the payment processors can add them. However, reps from Coinbase and Bitpay do not have any plans to do so for now.
Stock market and Bitcoin
A Bitcoin version of the stock market is very interesting to Byrne. In his version, the settlement will have to go through the blockchain, aka Bitcoin’s public ledger. This would mean that in order to sell a stock one would have to prove ownership of it.
The Overstock CEO says it would a “dream come true” if stock market shares were issued like the blockchain and transferring them would be the same as with digital currency.
Financial Option Outside of State Control
Byrne, like many other Bitcoin enthusiasts, likes the idea of having a financial option outside of governmental control. In fact, he is very critical of the Federal Reserve’s policy in the past few years. Byrne says,
“We are on a crazy strategy with our central bank. It’s good to have alternative ecosystems. It’s not that the dollar will go away, but we need other options if it crashes or wildly inflates.”
Speaking about the recession Byrne continues,
“I don’t think we ever got out of the recession. We’ve been reinflating the bubble and calling it recovery.”
After seeing all of this, it seems evident that the Overstock CEO is quite enthusiastic about Bitcoin. Overstock accepting Bitcoin as payment might not be the publicity stunt we all thought it was. Patrick Byrne really believes in Bitcoin.
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