Online retailer Overstock.com, Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK) is planning to accept bitcoin as a payment option starting in the second half of 2014, according to a report from Eric Calouro of newsBTC, who spoke directly with the company’s CEO Patrick Byrne.
Overstock's plan for Bitcoin
During a brief interview, Byrne confirmed the company’s plan regarding bitcoin. However, he said Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK) is still working on the details of accepting bitcoins. The company plans to work independently of bitcoin payment processors such as Coinbase or BitPay by implementing its own proprietary system to process transactions.
Byrne emphasized that Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK) has not decided yet regarding the implementation of a proprietary system for bitcoin, and the system finally adopted will have no marginal costs. He said he believes that “bitcoin is good money,” but if the company sees minimal purchases using bitcoin after two years it will not continue the process. Byrne also addressed the issue of volatility risk, “If we cannot find a way to hedge our risk, we’ll be converting right back into dollars.”
Overstock first online retailer to accept bitcoin
He explained that Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK) is willing to make the first move among the online retailers in the industry because it could give the company a “competitive edge if consumers starts thinking and using bitcoin. “We’re willing to take the first step and see,” said Byrne.
Byrne also explained the company’s plan of accepting bitcoin next year. According to him, “I think we'll pick up...the market share of people who'd prefer to pay in Bitcoin, with an honest currency."
In addition, he also emphasized that the decision of Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK) was in part “philosophical”, because of his belief in a limited government and that “if you want limited government, you can’t give it power to expand the monetary base.” Byrne believes in that bitcoin as a crypto-currency is beneficial because it is not connected to any government and has a finite supply.
Professor Simon Johnson at M.I.T. Sloan School of Management told the New York Times, “Bitcoin definitely addresses a need,” he said, “The payments industry is ready to be disrupted.”