Overstock CEO announces plans to pay employees and vendors in bitcoin

Home » Overstock CEO announces plans to pay employees and vendors in bitcoin
Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zcopley/

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zcopley/

Speaking on the Free Talk Live podcast from the Porcupine Freedom Festival in New Hampshire, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne discussed a wide range of bitcoin-related topics, including plans to create an incentive program to encourage his company’s employees and vendors to use bitcoin.

“We are going to be bringing online system that let us pay our vendors, and our employees [in bitcoin],” Byrne said. “Then, we’re going to start giving sort of special deals to the vendors who want to be paid in bitcoin. Maybe we’ll pay you a week early or something like that. By doing that, we will drive the ecosystem. If we can get employees taking it, vendors taking it, and customers paying [with it], then it becomes a virtuous circle.”

Overstock already sets aside roughly 10% of its bitcoin earnings, converting the rest to dollars to pay its vendors. The company hasn’t revealed precise numbers on its bitcoin transactions, but Byrne as stated that Overstock has seen more than $2 million in bitcoin-based purchases since launching the payment option earlier this year. In addition, Byrne noted that bitcoin users tend to be younger men, bringing a relatively new customer base to Overstock’s older female dominated demographic.

Byrne also commented on the recent trend of mainstream financial service providers, like MasterCard and Visa, hinting at some level of bitcoin adoption. He said that eBay’s PayPal was very likely to come up with a “business model that works with bitcoin,” but doubted that credit card companies and “financial industry” would be able to. “I think that when they really understand it, they’ll understand that it is a dagger right at the heart of their rent-seeking opportunity.”

Byrne said that many major financial companies have “senators on speed-dial,” and believes they are “really going to regret that they didn’t call those senators up two years ago” to “stop [bitcoin] in its tracks.”

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