On Friday, online retailer Overstock.com announced that as part of its commitment to digital currency technology, it was preparing to offer its staff the option of being paid in Bitcoin.
Making the option more viable is the presence of a Bitcoin ATM at Overstock.com’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company said in a press release that the Bitcoin ATM is accessible 24 hours a day and allows the public to convert US dollars to Bitcoin and vice-versa.
“Moving cryptocurrencies out of the realm of geeks and into the realm of the rest of us requires making changes at all levels of the financial ecosystem,” said Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne in the press release. “An important part of this effort is making digital money ATM accessible.”
Byrne added that the installment of the Bitcoin ATM is, in part, a commemoration of the success of the company’s digital currency initiative.
Overstock.com began accepting Bitcoin for payments a year ago, making itself the first major online shopping site to accept Bitcoin in the US. Since then, customers have made $3 million in Bitcoin purchases onsite. In September, the company became the first major online retailer to accommodate Bitcoin worldwide.
Last summer, Overstock.com revealed that it would be offering staff members the option of accepting bonuses in Bitcoin. To encourage them to take it, staff would be offered a premium over cash if they take their bonus in Bitcoin.
“While most employees will likely sell their Bitcoin bonuses for USD immediately, many of them will probably choose to make any purchases that they can and need in Bitcoin (to avoid the loss of transaction fees on that money),” wrote my colleague, Andre Infante, in August. “This will stimulate the Bitcoin economy in a small way, and also help to push the idea of Bitcoin as a legitimate currency in the eyes of the public. With any luck, other companies will be willing to follow in Byrne’s footsteps.”
Meanwhile, Amagi Metals, a Denver-based online dealer in precious metals and coins, announced last week that all of its employees will voluntary accept a portion of individual staff paychecks in Bitcoin this year through Bitwage, a Bitcoin payroll service.
Amagi Metals CEO Stephen Macaskill said in a press release the move is meant to advance the company’s ability to function fully in Bitcoin going forward. He will accept $40,000 of his annual income in Bitcoin to demonstrate his support of the digital currency.
The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s announcement last August that it would no longer accept US dollars or other fiat currencies by the end of 2016. Instead, Amagi Metals is poised to trade exclusively in digital currencies like Bitcoin.
“I’m really excited about taking Amagi to the next level in bitcoin adoption,” Macaskill said in the press release about the Bitcoin payroll initiative. “When we first started accepting Bitcoin more than two years ago, I saw it as a large experiment in monetary innovation. Now I see Bitcoin as the future, so I’m going to put my money where my mouth is, and I’m thrilled to have a team that thinks the same way. The integration of Bitwage into our operations is a step to ensure our company’s divorce from the U.S. Dollar in 2017.”
On Amagi Metals’ participation, Bitwage CSO Jonathan Chester said in the news release, “The Amagi Metals team is innovative, not just in the goods and services it delivers, but also in the realm of benefits and payroll. Amagi Metals is leading a new era for Bitcoin adoption as one of the first companies to leverage Bitcoin to improve payroll efficiency while cutting operational costs.”
Image courtesy of Overstock