Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne says the online retailer plans to start accepting Bitcoin as a payment method during 2014, and possibly within the next four months. While a number of services, from Reddit to Virgin Galactic, already accept Bitcoin payments, Overstock.com would be the biggest retailer yet to make the move.
Check the small print before diving into Overstock.com’s range of furnishings, fashion and electronics, though. The site will convert Bitcoin to US dollars on a daily basis, so your digital currency may not go as far (or much further) than you were expecting. We’ve recently reported on Bitcoin’s volatile market value, as well as the other emerging alternative currencies that have made these altcoins one of the biggest stories of 2013.
“I think we’ll pick up market share,” Byrne told the Los Angeles Times, “the market share of people who’d prefer to pay in Bitcoin, with an honest currency.” He said that the decision is “also philosophical, part and parcel with my belief in a limited government — that if you want limited government you can’t give it power to expand the monetary base.”
Items on Overstock.com will still be priced in dollars, but shoppers will have the option to pay in Bitcoins once they reach the checkout, where the most up-to-date exchange rate will be displayed. This matches the policies of other retailers, such as Bitcoinstore.com, as they look to protect themselves against sudden jumps in Bitcoin’s value.
News about Overstock.com’s plans saw the company’s shares climb 7.77 percent in the day’s NASDAQ trading. The retailer pulled in just over $1 billion in revenue during the last year. It remains to be seen where Bitcoin’s value and popularity will be once Overstock.com starts accepting it, but it’s another significant development for these fledging digital currencies.